If the Cincinnati Bengals went in a different direction during the 2022 NFL Draft, things would be much different now.
Letting the board fall to them in the first round, the Bengals scooped up safety Dax Hill with the 31st overall pick.
There were needs at cornerback, defensive tackle, and guard, but the Bengals opted for a safety. Hill would join a defense that already had Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell starting in it. What happened to those two in last month makes the Hill selection all the more worth it.
The Bengals losing both safeties in one day of free agency meant all they had to do was replace one of them. They found that replacement in Los Angeles with the signing of Nick Scott.
This is a bad year to need a safety in the NFL Draft. Paper thin.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 7, 2023
And instead of now entering the 2023 Draft in dire need of a pairing for Scott, they get to avoid a troublesome situation. NFL Media’s draft guru Daniel Jeremiah believes this year’s safety class is “paper thin”, and a bad year to need one.
No team knows for sure how the class of next year will compare to the one right in front of them. There’s also no predicting what free agents they’ll be able to keep several months into the future.
The best they can do is prepare for anything while they can. That’s what Hill, and also fifth-rounder Tycen Anderson, ultimately signified.
There was still a glimmer of hope that Bates would re-sign in the months following, and Bell was never seen as someone the team would let get away. The likely, and then unlikely, both happened at once. And instead of having to scramble in two different phases of the offseason, the Bengals can relax knowing they already handling it entering the Draft.