The Bengals have had a very hit or miss 2nd round history under Zac Taylor. The pattern has played out as miss-hit-miss-hit given how the careers of Drew Sample, Tee Higgins, Jackson Carman, and Cam Taylor-Britt are unfolding. Regardless of how the players pan out, history points to their 2nd pick in the draft being an exciting one, especially if you love drafting skill positions. Two of them are on offense (TE, WR), and one on defense (CB). If the trend continues, the Bengals could add a weapon for a stacked offense or another corner to bolster the secondary. But the bad news is the other trend. We’re in the “miss” year of the hit-or-miss game. That is, if you believe in those sorts of superstitions.
2019: Drew Sample, 42nd Overall
Drew Sample was an underwhelming pick at the time, and there has been nothing to change that over the years in Cincinnati. Drew Sample is a decent role player who missed most of this past season due to injury. Currently an unrestricted free agent, it wouldn’t surprise me if he is permanently off the roster. This was an attempt to find a scheme-fit run blocker, and honestly, it wasn’t a horrible fit but combine a massive reach in the 2nd round and zero production right away, and it’s not a good look.
2020: Tee Higgins, 33rd Overall
Tee Higgins was a home run pick who is part of an elite wide receiver trio. This is back-to-back years the Bengals took a receiving option in the 2nd round. This time around, the Bengals did not reach a prospect they liked. Unlike Sample, Higgins was worth a 1st round selection, let alone a 2nd rounder.
2021: Jackson Carman, 46th Overall
The Bengals followed up an exciting splash pick with another reach in the 2nd round. Jackson Carman, at this point, has not lived up to a 2nd round pick. It seemed like a reach at the time, and now the pick looks to be a bust. They had a massive need at OL and reached with this pick. That’s now two reaches in three years in the 2nd round at positions of need. The Bengals should stick to taking the best player available in the 2nd round and allow the board to fall to them.
2022: Cam Taylor-Britt, 60th Overall
I loved this pick. Cincinnati recognized there was potential to add to the cornerback room and selected a good prospect. Three out of four years, the Bengals went skill position for their roster in the 2nd round. The front office was aggressive in pursuit of Taylor-Britt, having to trade up in the 2nd round past the 49ers who were rumored to be heavily interested in the Nebraska alumni.
2nd Round Recap
The Bengals hold a lot of value in the 2nd round. Taking key positions in wide receiver, tackle, and cornerback in recent years. With two reaches on positions of need, the Bengals should stick to the best player available in the 2nd round. Historically, outside of Zac Taylor even, it seems the Bengals’ front office thinks the 2nd round is a sweet spot for skill position players. Another selection spent on a weapon would not be surprising if they were to add a Running Back after the departure of Samaje Perine in free agency and the uncertainty surrounding Joe Mixon’s roster status.
Potential Selection: Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA
Charbonnet is one of three of my favorite running back targets for the Bengals in this year’s draft. He possesses the vision, balance, strength, and size the Bengals want out of a back.
Charbonnet would provide fresh legs in the offense and likely replace Joe Mixon in the future. Bengals brass met with Charbonnet at the NFL Combine back in February.