Duke Tobin and company were faced with a near-impossible task. That task was to continue drafting perfectly.
Having his star weapons with Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins and Logan Wilson in 2020 and following that up with Ja’Marr Chase in 2021, the Bengals had almost zero chance to bring in players as impactful, drafting with a late first-round pick in 2022.
Cincinnati took Dax Hill in the first round, then Cam Taylor-Britt, who had the game-ending interception against Buffalo, in the second round.
While Taylor-Britt did come on late, many of the Bengals' top draftees didn’t play a large role in their game plan for the season with Hill serving more as an insurance policy for Jessie Bates III’s inevitable exit.
Here’s what NFL.com’s Nick Shook, who graded Cincinnati a C+, had to say about the Bengals draft class.
“Taylor-Britt was thrown into the lineup following Chidobe Awuzie’s season-ending injury, and while he endured some typical rookie struggles (reflected in his defensive grade of 56.1 from PFF), Taylor-Britt also improved down the stretch. Carter’s campaign doesn’t look great when viewed as a whole, but he finished on a notably strong note, filling a rotational role as Cincinnati’s third defensive tackle in a unit that thrived against the run (see: Week 18 and Super Wild Card Weekend against Baltimore). He provides depth and gave Bengals fans reason to be excited about his future. Volson started in every game, initially filling the left guard spot out of necessity, then proving he was worthy of the job. Volson had some early bumps in the road but ended up improving in the second half of the season, named Offensive Rookie of the Year by the team’s site. If he can continue to improve, the Bengals will have one less offensive line position to worry about going forward,” Shook said.
The Bengals did not the importance of Volson, and he did a solid job keeping the Bengals’ offensive line intact. As for their impact, it is hard to argue with Shook as the potential of the rookie class was often murky to see, partially due to the lack of opportunity until injuries set in for the team.
Expect to see more Taylor-Britt and Hill this upcoming season, and next year, we may look back and improve that C+ at least a bit.