by J.T. Toth
Photo of Charlie Jones on the field.
As readers of Draft 412, we know you—the fans and our subscribers—want news on the
Steelers. But your rooting interests go deeper. You want intelligent reporting on the enemies,
and the other teams in the AFC North qualify as such. Our articles this week will not only
provide you with in-depth coverage of the Steelers but will allow a peek behind the curtain on
the Ravens, Bengals, and Browns.
This is our report on Cincinnati’s draft:
The past two seasons have been ones to remember in the Queen City, a trip to the
Super Bowl and back-to-back visits to the AFC title game have put the Bengals amongst the
upper echelon of teams. The Bengals have been hitting homeruns in the drafts of late, Joe
Burrow in 2020, and Ja’Marr Chase in 2021 have given the Bengals an elite offense. The defense
is still a work in progress and a good draft day could put this team over the top, catapulting
them possibly to their first Super Bowl win.
Here is a look at what the Bengals did in the 2023 NFL Draft:
R1 (28): DE Myles Murphy, Clemson
R2 (60): CB D.J. Turner, Michigan
R3 (95): S Jordan Battle, Alabama
R4 (131): WR Charlie Jones, Purdue
R5 (163): RB Chase Brown, Illinois
R6 (206) WR Andrei Iosivas, Princeton
R6 (217) P Brad Robbins, Michigan
R7 (246) CB D.J. Ivey, Miami, FL.
Cincinnati only had 30 sacks in 2022, the fourth fewest total in the NFL. Going up against
the likes of Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes, this could be a big reason they haven’t gotten over
that Super Bowl hump.
Veteran defensive ends, Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard, combined for just 14.5 sacks in 2022. Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo loves moving players around and having flexibility in his disguises. Myles Murphy is a nice pick at the end of the first round and he will give Cincinnati a designated pass rusher as he learns the ropes and brings depth to the Bengals defensive line.
A sub 4.3 at the combine propelled D.J. Turner up many teams’ draft boards and the Bengals were exhilarated that he fell to the 60th pick in round two. With Chidobe Awuzie approaching the end of his contract, the Bengals are slowly building a quality, young secondary. Having drafted safety Dax Hill and CB Cam Taylor-Britt in rounds one and two last year, the Bengals have a quality young secondary in the making for years to come.
The Bengals stick with the notion of building a young, talented secondary and with the losses of safeties Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell, they chose to add a quality depth safety in Jordan Battle. Battle will give Anarumo flexibility in three safety sets and was known for making big plays for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
This may be the Bengals' best “value” pick of the 2023 Draft. I loved the film and the
combine results of Charlie Jones and believe in some ways that the Steelers were ready to
select Jones with the very next pick in round four. Jones will be the Bengals' fourth receiver, but
with Tyler Boyd on his last year of his contract the Bengals are preparing a new slot receiver.
The Bengals have some question marks at running back right now with Samaje Perine
off to Denver and the rumors on Joe Mixon possibly being a cap casualty. They drafted Illinois
ball carrier Chase Brown who I like, but I also worry about a 5’9” 205 running back who has
already had 600 carries in college.
Andrei Iosivas is an interesting prospect. At 6’3” and a First-Team All-American at the 2022 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, Iosivas brings nice depth to the Bengals' WR room. Not a definite need for them but a true value pick in the sixth.
With their 2nd pick in round 6, the Bengals addressed special team with the selection of Michigan Wolverines' punter Brad Robbins. When you are as good as Cincinnati is, field position
means that much more and could cost you home field advantage or a playoff game. Drue Chrisman replaced Kevin Huber last year, but consistency was up and down at the position. A
bad punt gave Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs a short field and led to the Chiefs' winning field goal
in the 2022 playoffs. Using a pick on a punter makes total sense.
Another cornerback? The Bengals may have taken this young secondary a little too far
with another corner in Hurricane D.J. Ivey. I really don’t have any issues with this pick other
than in my view should have possibly rolled the dice on a tight end.
Overall Grade: B+
The Bengals had a good draft, they added a pass rusher, some good young secondary
depth for future, and a quality WR. The 6th round punter selection made sense, and the only
open spot they did not fill was tight end. Irv Smith Jr. and Devin Asiasi will not frighten a lot of
defenses. Look for Cincinnati to add a TE soon through cuts or free agency.