CINCINNATI – We are a week away from the 2022 NFL Draft, so the smoke screens, hypotheticals, and everything else speculatively involved with the draft is about to kick into overdrive.

One of the most recent hypotheticals involving the Bengals is ESPN‘s Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest opinion that the Bengals could trade out of the first round come next Thursday.

Kiper said the following in his recent mailbag:

There could be a handful of teams looking to trade into the end of Round 1 to get ahead of Detroit (No. 32) to draft a quarterback. It’s possible that only Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis are off the board among the quarterbacks when Cincy is set to pick at No. 31, and a team might want to trade up to get their guy — and get him with the fifth-year option attached. Maybe a team wants to jump up to get one of the top receivers, too. Cincinnati could benefit from such a move, considering it would pick up additional draft capital and likely only fall a few spots down the board and still land a very similar prospect. I think there could be a lot of movement in that Nos. 25-42-ish range.

It makes sense. That fifth-year option can really come handy for franchises looking to squeeze every drop out of a rookie contract. And there will likely be a team wanting to pull the trigger if it likes a quarterback enough. Typically, that’s the case in the NFL.

But the Bengals have to make sure they get a good deal in a trade back because it’s very likely there will still be quality players available that also fill a need.

How far could the Bengals actually trade back and what could/would they get in return?

How much a pick is ultimately worth is a combination of a subjective opinions based on what pick it is, who’s available at the pick, what teams think of who’s available, and so on and so forth.

But we get a slightly objective idea of what picks are worth on a pick-only basis using Rich Hill’s trade value chart.

There are a few teams the Bengals can trade back with that match Kiper’s description. The Giants (No. 36), Seahawks (Nos. 40 and 41), Falcons (Nos. 43 and 58), and Saints (No. 49) seem the most realistic, so let’s use them in this exercise.

Based off Hill’s chart, Cincy’s 31st overall pick is worth 190 points. The previously listed picks are worth the following:

  • No. 36: 166
  • No. 40: 149
  • No. 41: 146
  • No. 43: 138
  • No. 49: 118
  • No. 58: 93

It’ll obviously cost one of the aforementioned teams a second-rounder to move up to No. 31, but the Bengals won’t get Seattle’s or Atlanta’s second second-rounder in the deal.

The Bengals are still short of 190 draft pick points, so which additional pick(s) is most likely to be tacked on?

It’s probably safe to assume the Bengals won’t want to drop too far in the draft, so it doesn’t seem likely they’ll drop past the 41st overall pick. Using that assumption, the Giants’ fourth-round selection (No. 112) and Seattle’s fourth-rounder (No. 109) are the best options. If the Bengals wanted to go as low as No. 43, they could snag the Falcons’ third-rounder (No. 82) going strictly off the chart.

And, of course, those are just minimal scenarios. The Bengals could tack on an extra draft pick in a later round in hopes of getting a better additional pick and vice-versa with the other teams. Overall, the Bengals likely won’t net more than an extra fourth-rounder on top of the second-rounder they receive if they were to move back into the early portion of the second round.

There are past examples to get an idea of what a trade back looks like, as well

Here are a few recent examples of teams trading up into the back end of the first round/teams trading back into the front end of the second round:

  • 2012: Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade with Denver Broncos to move up from No. 36 to No. 31; the Broncos received No. 36 overall (2nd round) and No. 101 overall (4th round) and the Bucs received No. 31 overall and No. 126 overall (4th round)
  • 2018: Baltimore Ravens trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to move up from No. 52 to No. 32; the Eagles received No. 52 overall (2nd round), No. 125 overall (4th round), and a 2019 second-rounder and the Ravens received No. 32 overall and No. 132 overall (4th round).
  • 2019: Atlanta Falcons trade with Los Angeles Rams to move up from No. 45 to No. 31; the Rams received No. 45 overall (2nd round) and No. 79 overall (3rd round) and the Falcons received No. 31 overall and No. 203 overall (6th round)

Those are three pretty good examples of what the Bengals and fans can expect if they decide to trade back in the draft.

It’s an interesting thought process, but as with all things over the next week – only time will tell what truly happens.

Featured image via Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK