The Cincinnati Bengals threw one of their two seventh-round picks into a trade during the 2022 NFL draft’s fifth round to move up and secure Toledo safety Tycen Anderson.
It’s certainly hard to feel too negatively about that given the return was selecting a safety who checks in at 6’2″ and 209 pounds with a wicked 4.36 time in the 40-yard dash.
Anderson is an uber-athlete and the third 4.3 guy the Bengals have drafted for the secondary in this class.
As a three-year starter, his production was quality, too, and from 2017-2021 he tallied 233 total tackles with two sacks, two interceptions and 16 passes defended.
Like the film shows, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein classifies Anderson as more of an in-the-box sort of run-thumper:
“Three-year starter who aligned as a big nickel and box add-on at Toledo and will likely be targeted in that same capacity by pro teams. Anderson’s size, length and speed stand out on tape. He’s a determined run supporter who plays with adequate block take-on and play strength near the line of scrimmage. He’s a rangy, long tackler with the ability to short-circuit outside runners. Anderson has the potential to handle coverage underneath but might not have the instincts or ball skills to handle additional coverage duties. He has the ability to fit as backup down safety with upside.”
So, think more Vonn Bell than Jessie Bates, which isn’t a bad thing.
Of course, it’s worth bringing up those two names. Anderson is the third defensive back the Bengals have selected now, so it’s clear the Bengals wanted some insurance policies on the chance they can’t get Bell or Bates — if not both — back on long-term deals soon.
But for now, it feels obvious Anderson will have a top-tier impact on special teams coverage, at a minimum, while developing as a player who can potentially contribute in the base defense.
This late in a draft, it’s all about gambling on huge traits. Anderson has those, plus the experience and versatility the Bengals desire, so it’s a solid pick, and only at the cost of an extra seventh-rounder.