How the 2022 NFL Draft Changed Cincinnati Bengals Super Bowl Odds

How the 2022 NFL Draft Changed Cincinnati Bengals Super Bowl Odds

Ryan Knuppel
2 years ago
3 min read
New Bengals safety Daxton Hill smiles during an introductory press conference

It’s become a common tradition for the Cincinnati Bengals to possess a high draft pick every spring. However, after coming within three points of a Super Bowl victory, the Bengals had limited opportunities to improve their title odds in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Cincinnati made six picks in Las Vegas, five of which landed inside the first five rounds. Did the reigning AFC champs find a player to push their Super Bowl odds over the top? Or will they have to earn more respect from sportsbooks during the season?

Bengals Find Their Next ‘Do-it-All’ Defensive Back

In the last two years, the Bengals have prioritized offense with their two top-five picks. Cincy added franchise QB Joe Burrow in 2020 and WR Ja’Marr Chase in ‘21, paving the foundation in the Queen City.

The Bengals had to wait until pick No. 31 in the first round this year. But they still managed to land a prospect that boasts immediate value for the title contenders.

Cincinnati drafted Daxton Hill, a defensive back out of Michigan. The 21-year-old finished First Team All-Big Ten to punctuate his successful three-year career in Ann Arbor. Many experts viewed him as a top-20 selection, so nabbing him at 31 was a massive coup for longtime owner/GM Mike Brown.

Hill possesses tremendous versatility, something defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo seeks from his players. He can play at either safety position and even slide in as a slot cornerback. The latter might be where he sees most of his on-field time in 2022.

With All-Pro Jessie Bates III playing on the franchise tag and Vonn Bell in the final year of his deal, Hill is set up to replace one of them for 2023 and beyond. But the former Wolverine will play a significant role in Anarumo’s secondary-heavy defense from day one.

Cincinnati Adds to Defense and Brings in O-Line Competition

After selecting Hill near the end of the first round, the Bengals returned to the DB well in Round 2. Cincy traded up three spots and moved its sixth-round pick for Nebraska’s Cam Taylor-Britt.

Like Hill, Taylor-Britt has multi-position versatility and can start in a nickel cornerback role before moving outside in ‘23.

The Bengals used three of their final four picks on defense, including Florida DT Zachary Carter and another cornerback-safety hybrid in Toledo’s Tycen Anderson.

Unlike previous drafts, Cincinnati barely addressed its offense. With Burrow and Chase leading a dynamic offense that also features Joe Mixon and Tee Higgins, finding more playmakers wasn’t a priority. The conference champs also dedicated free agency to finding new starters on the offensive line, adding RT La’el Collins, RG Alex Cappa, and C Ted Karras.

The Bengals made one offensive addition via the draft. OG Cordell Volson was a two-time First Team All-America selection for North Dakota State that spent most of his collegiate career at tackle. Cincy would love Volson to compete with 2021 second-rounder Jackson Carman for the starting LG spot.

Hill Not Enough to Move Needle for Super Bowl Odds

Despite making no picks inside the top 30, the Bengals hit a home run with Hill. The talented DB will quickly become one of Cincinnati’s go-to defenders in the secondary. Taylor-Britt should also see some quality snaps throughout the season.

But despite making quality additions on defense, the Bengals exited the NFL draft with no change to their Super Bowl odds.

Interestingly, Cincy’s SB odds have decreased in the 2+ months since losing to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI. Before free agency, the Bengals sat at a respectable +1500. They’re now +2000, the same as the division-rival Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens.

If it’s any consolation to Bengals fans, the odds shift has more to do with other teams improving. Teams like the Browns (Deshaun Watson) and Denver Broncos (Russell Wilson) saw massive odds boosts thanks to star QB acquisitions. The same is true for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who vaulted from +2000 when Tom Brady retired to +750 upon his return.

Cincinnati is tied with Baltimore and Cleveland for the fifth-best Super Bowl odds amongst AFC teams. However, a vastly-improved offensive line and a new-look defensive backfield make the Bengals a better team today than three months ago. They should still be viewed as a championship contender, especially after a solid draft class.

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