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1 hour ago, Jamie_B said:


Love this. Bengals scout Andrew Johnson looks absolutely pumped. Also Elizabeth in the back with her Bengals jersey on, awesome! Mike Brown...pretty emotionless lol


Edit: looks like he may have cracked a smile!

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Here's why Bengals first round pick Daxton Hill adds brand new possibilities to the defense


Charlie Goldsmith

Cincinnati Enquirer

Just like Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor and defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, the Bengals’ 2022 first-round draft pick Daxton Hill has an open mind to the role of a defensive back in the modern, more positionless NFL.


During the Bengals’ 2021 run to the Super Bowl, Bengals safety Vonn Bell nicknamed Anarumo the “mad scientist.” In the playoffs, Anarumo changed between five defensive line fronts, three safety packages and other new formations that the Bengals hadn’t used all season.


It’s a flexible defense that perfectly suits Hill, who said he doesn’t view himself solely as a cornerback or as a safety. Hill offers more versatility and upside than any defensive player the Bengals have drafted during Anarumo’s tenure with the team.


“The more the player can do, the better off he'll help us as a team,” Anarumo said. “And this guy is no different. He kind of fits that bill to a ‘T.’”


How the Cincinnati Bengals hope Daxton Hill can add versatility to the defense

On Thursday, the Bengals got a potential building block for their secondary who can match up against a wide variety of receiving threats. Playing at Michigan, Hill has spent time in one-on-one coverage, guarded tight ends and running backs, blitzed out of the slot and played over the top as a free safety.


With an athletic natural playmaker like Hill, the Bengals can add brand new elements to their defense.


“(I want to be) a hybrid player throughout my entire career,” Hill said. “I don’t really want to limit myself, because I know I can play other positions — whatever that may be, whenever that may be. I’m ready for the journey.” 


The Hill pick was a reward for drafting as aggressively as the Bengals did in 2020 and 2021. In both drafts, the Bengals selected a wide receiver early ahead of greater needs on the offensive line and the defensive line. Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins helped fuel the Bengals’ run to the Super Bowl, and the rest of the NFL took notice.


Why did Daxton Hill fall to the end of the first round of the NFL Draft for the Cincinnati Bengals?

In the post-draft press conference, Taylor smiled as he described the feeling of watching six wide receivers go in the top-20 for the first time in modern draft history. Since the Bengals have one of the best receiver trios in the NFL, they were completely set at the position. As other teams reached at wide receiver, the Bengals sat back and watched some of the best defensive players in the draft class fall into the late 20s, making the selection of Hill possible. 


The Bengals are onto the portion of the team-building process where they can draft a playmaker to stop the most dynamic passing attacks in the NFL.


“When you look at offenses these days and the way tight ends are utilized, and how the running backs come out of the backfield — just different, different things,” Anarumo said. “This guy can cut, he can blitz off the edge and recover good against the run. And he’s good at getting off blocks and things like that. We're getting a good overall football player.”


The Bengals picked Hill over two more traditional cornerbacks, Andrew Booth from Clemson and Kyler Gordon from Washington. Booth had an injury history, and a few evaluators around the NFL had questions about whether Gordon profiled as a long-term outside cornerback or a slot cornerback who plays on the inside. 


Booth, Gordon and defensive tackle Logan Hall all filled clearer positions of need. The pick also indicates the coaching staff’s confidence that Eli Apple is more like the consistent cornerback the team saw throughout the second half of the season and less of the cornerback who struggled against Cooper Kupp in the Super Bowl. 


Even though the Bengals had greater immediate needs, Hill also has an easy-to-project role on the Bengals in 2022.


“This guy, like Lou mentioned, can be a third safety but can also play a lot of different roles for you,” Taylor said. “So it's not that simple to say he’s just a one-position type of guy. He can really come in and help us in a lot of different ways in combination with Vonn and Jessie (Bates III).”


How did the Cincinnati Bengals use third safeties last season?

Last season, the Bengals used their third safeties in very defined roles. Tre Flowers guarded tight ends. Ricardo Allen and Mike Thomas mostly played high coverage over the top. While they all filled important roles in the scheme, they weren’t playmakers. 


Hill has experience in the role Flowers played last season as a physical defender in pass coverage over the middle. And Hill’s speed, range and change-of-direction give him the potential to play center field for the defense. His natural playmaking skills can add juice to the Bengals defense. 

Hill can also fill an even more important role in the long term. Starting safeties Jessie Bates III and Bell are both in contract years, and it’s uncertain whether the Bengals will keep both of them, one of them or neither of them.


Why safety ranks as on the 'premium positions' for the CIncinnati Bengals

With Hill’s versatility, the Bengals will enter the 2023 season with much more flexibility at safety, a position that Anarumo called one of the “premium positions” on the field. Hill could grow into the long-term safety in either of their roles.


“We just added a really good player to the room that's going to help us on defense and (who) helps us get back to where we want to go,” Taylor said. “The guys on the team (Bell and Bates) understand we're just trying to win football games and add any piece that can do it.”


Hill gives the Bengals the opportunity to amplify how creative Anarumo can be as a play caller. Since Hill offers more versatility than any other defensive back they had behind Bates and Bell in 2021, Anarumo can disguise more coverages before the snap, call timely blitzes and design even more unexpected plays like the ones that helped the Bengals stop the Titans and the Chiefs to win the AFC title.


With Hill in the fold, Anarumo’s defense has brand new possibilities. 


“We’re going to chase around two of the toughest quarterbacks in the league this year four times,” Anarumo said. “The more speed we have on the field, the better we’ll be. So he lends that. There's certainly going to be a learning curve — there is for every rookie, especially in the back end. We’ll give him just enough on his plate to see how much he can handle and kind of take it from there.” 



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My take a day later ... 


When it comes down to why the Bengals took Daxton over Cine (who went with the next pick and I coveted) I think the error I made was assuming the Bengals wanted a traditional S who plays in 1 or 2 high and can fill the gap on run plays (which is Cine). Basically what you see in a 4-3-4 defense of old. 


However, after watching Lou's presser and focusing more on how the Bengals want to play D, it is clear that Lou doesn't run a traditional defense, in fact he often plays what I would call a 4-7 (4 down linemen and 7 DBs, as really the Bengals starting LBs are ex college S - Pratt and Wilson). So in this way, Daxton is a Swiss Army piece that can be placed anywhere along the back 4-7 the Bengals play, where he can be in the slot, off the ball, up high, or blitzing off the edge like an "OLB" etc. In fact I think the speed with which he closes on the QB on blitzes is his 'sexiest' trait from the highlights. 


In this way, his position should really just be seen as "DB" rather than S or CB - as he can do everything other than play on the DL. Moreover, with many teams now going to 4 or even 5 WR late in games, teams need 6-7 guys who can drop back and play the pass. This helps the Bengals in that regard, and when you throw in Booth's durability concerns because of hernias, the Daxton pick makes a lot more sense.

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13 hours ago, GoBengals said:


thats a "no he isnt a bates replacement" comment even tho he is a bates replacemement



Sure, we may see him line up at corner sometimes & I wish he was coming to replace Apple instead but letting Bates walk after this year is p much a given with this pick.

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Of note, in his final mock draft yesterday, Peter Schrager had Daxton going pick #22 to the Ravens ...



(from LV)
Michigan · S · Junior


New defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald gets one of his former Wolverine stars for his Ravens D. Hill's versatility allows him to play both cornerback and safety.



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51 minutes ago, T-Dub said:


Sure, we may see him line up at corner sometimes & I wish he was coming to replace Apple instead but letting Bates walk after this year is p much a given with this pick.

Hey, welcome back…bitch

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Danny Kelly - The Ringer:



I absolutely love this pick for the Bengals, who nab my 14th-ranked player at 31st overall. Hill is an explosive and versatile defensive back with the skill set to play all across the defense. Paired with Jessie Bates III, Hill gives the Bengals a dynamic duo at safety and immediately ups Cincy’s speed on defense.


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16 hours ago, MichaelWeston said:

Some thinking out loud here.

He's not going to be the primary Slot Corner: Hilton is signed to do that for the next 3 years at a very reasonable amount
We don't want him to be the primary Deep safety: We want Bates in that role his leadership is important
He hasn't played outside corner much at all
He has played in the box but is a bit undersized for that Vonn Bell is 5-11 205 he is 6-0 191
We signed Tre Flowers who was adept at guarding TEs

If you were starting a team with no players at all he would make a ton of sense. A very high level athlete and versatile playmaker with zero red flags. Plus you can get his brother to come cheap after he is cut from the Ravens this year.

I like the pick. I like the player. I like it all if he can play box effectively and stay healthy. He won't struggle to get snaps as the primary backup for 3 starters. He has star written all over him and centerpiece of the defense. He also allows you to pay Bates now and then replace Bates in 4 years as he shifts from box to deep. Which is I think the most likely situation. He's the dime S and corner, primary backup for slot corner, Bell and Bates. Replaces Bell in 2023, replaces Bates in 2027.

So you think Bates will definately be resigned? In time to lift FT or next year?

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