Now that the college football season is officially over, we are starting to hear which players are heading to the NFL Draft and that brings new mock drafts.
One Kentucky Wildcats player that is going to hear his name called early is offensive tackle Darian Kinnard.
“The Ja’Marr Chase-Penei Sewell debate was at least temporarily settled by the Bengals wide receiver when he embarked on his record-setting rookie year. Still, Cincinnati must have been on edge when Joe Burrow was dinged up after taking four sacks and 10 hits in the penultimate game of the regular season. No one will confuse Kinnard’s pass protection skills with those of Sewell, but the Southeastern Conference standout is a stable option at either right tackle or guard.”
Kinnard was named a Consensus All-American in 2021 and was the first offensive lineman to receive the honor since Sam Ball in 1965.
There is no doubt that Kinnard will be the first Wildcat taken in the upcoming NFL Draft, and he would be a perfect fit in Cincinnati with the offensive line being their biggest concern, especially at right tackle. They did get good production out of the 33-year-old Riley Reiff until his season-ending ankle injury, and he’s set to be a free agent this offseason, so they may need to address this position early in the 2022 draft.
The Bengals already have a high-powered offense, but protecting Joe Burrow, who was sacked the most in the NFL this season, will make them that much more dangerous, and Kinnard can certainly help protect one of the league’s rising stars.
You can check out USA Today’s entire mock draft here.