Count ESPN’s Mel Kiper as one of the biggest fans of the Cincinnati Bengals and choose Michigan Safety Daxton Hill with the 31st pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
The choice and the instant analysis that followed came as a bit of a surprise to many bystanders. On the surface, the Bengals already have three starting corners and two celebrities on safety with Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell.
But Hill’s elite athletics, production and ability to play everywhere made him a no-miss for the Bengal coaching staff.
And Kiper, who spoke after the election went live, reinforced those ideas (c / o Dave Clark of the Cincinnati Enquirer):
“Great player. I was shocked he was still there. … The number 1 safety that comes from high school. Fly to football. He will come in and be an immediate impact performer. A guy who can get behind the quarterback. … I do not know what the child is missing, guys. I thought he was one of the best 13, 14 players in this draft. Versatility – he is perfect for the way the match is played in the National Football League today. Daxton Hill, for me, one of the stalks in the draft so far. Daxton Hill should have chosen maybe 10-15 times earlier. “
Hill’s ability to fly across the field and play a variety of positions and schemes while fitting against a ton of different weapons has made him very attractive to a Bengali coaching staff who want to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. -type passers-by in the AFC.
Given his natural ability, the Bengal Hill will immediately have on the field early in a rotation role, where he will have a chance to prove faith like Kiper correctly.