When it comes to the NFL Draft, there are a handful of voices on a couple of different networks that are synonymous with the event. One of those is Trey Wingo, who has been a national sportscaster for decades on NBC, ESPN and Pro Football Network, while hosting the televised draft for many years.
Now, Wingo has partnered with Caesar’s sports book to bring more great sports coverage in the next chapter of his great career. We had a sit-down with Wingo in Las Vegas on the eve of the draft, chatting about betting odds and trends, the powerhouse AFC Conference and the Cincinnati Bengals.
For the latter, Wingo had some lofty compliments for the reigning AFC champs, noting that while there may have been some elements of “flukiness” in their run to superbowl LVI, they are here to stay.
“You can make a very compelling argument that the best, young core of talent in the NFL is in Cincinnati,” Wingo told me in the cush “fan-cave” inside of the Caesars Palace Sportsbook. “Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon. I’m not sure, as we speak, that there’s a better core of offensive skill position players than those guys.”
When recounting Cincinnati’s three playoff wins this past season, Wingo noted how fine the razor’s edge was in the Bengals’ wins versus the Raiders, Titans and Chiefs, respectively. And, while he notes that the talent is there and then some in Cincinnati, he also quipped: “I just don’t know if you can count on those many things going right again.”
Yes, the Bengals caught breaks towards the end of the year. A rookie kicker going perfect in a near-postseason-record run with a number of 50-plus-yard kicks, timely turnovers and other favorable events that the Bengals aren’t accustomed to receiving were occurring on the regular.
But, as they say, “Luck favors the prepared.” The Bengals were a good team last year that created many of their own opportunities for a successful run.
Wingo also noted his admiration for what the Bengals did in free agency prior to the draft. Cincinnati signed three new starters on their offensive line, while also keeping their roster largely intact.
“They did a great job this offseason,” Wingo said when I asked him about the Bengals avoiding the dreaded Super Bowl loss hangover. “They had one glaring weakness—that was the offensive line—and they have shored that up with fighters. La’el Collins, (Ted) Karras comes over—these guys aren’t just good, they’re mean, you know, and that’s what you want. They didn’t have enough nasty in that Super Bowl and that’s why Aaron Donald was able to take over the game the way he did.”
Unfortunately, the Bengals have a tougher road ahead in 2022, sporting the 7th-hardest schedule. Throw in what the Bills, dolphins and Broncos have done this offseason and the conference is becoming very difficult to traverse.
In fact, Wingo noted Miami as the team who could have the surprise run, at least in the eyes of outsiders, much like Cincinnati’s in 2021. The addition of Tyreek Hill with Jaylen Waddle and a capable defense makes it a make-or-break year for Tua Tagovailoa.
After free agency went through a few weeks and before the draft, Caesar’s Sportsbook had the Bengals’ win total at 9.5.
Next time you’re in Las Vegas, be sure to hit the sportsbook at Caesar’s Palace. It’s many big screens and cushy seating makes watching your favorite sport an absolute treat.
And, Caesar’s did a fantastic job as the flagship host of this year’s NFL Draft. The media workroom and rookie greenroom were in the adjacent “Forum” complex, while the draft theater was just a short walk from one of the most iconic hotel/casinos in the country.
Our thanks to Mr. Wingo, Mr. Harwood and all of the fine folks at Caesar’s Sportsbook for the time and hospitality. Check the above-embedded video for the entire entertaining interview.
Be sure to get the Caesar’s Sportsbook app and follow them on Twitter @CaesarsSports!