After coming tantalizingly close to a Super Bowl win in the last two seasons, did the Cincinnati Bengals use the 2023 NFL Draft to find the missing pieces to lead them to the ultimate success? The Bengals’ NFL Draft grades tell the story of how Cincinnati’s 2023 haul unfolded.
Cincinnati Bengals Draft Grades
Round 1, Pick 28: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
Myles Murphy’s descent down the 2023 NFL Draft is stopped short of a complete slide out of the first round with his 28th overall selection by the Cincinnati Bengals.
While offensive line and the secondary were considered significant areas of need, adding a pass rusher with the potential of the former Clemson standout makes a ton of sense when you have to stop Lamar Jackson twice a year and need to find a way to slow down Patrick Mahomes if you want to be the AFC’s representative in the Super Bowl.
Additionally, Trey Hendrickson is set to hit free agency in 2025. At 6’5” and 275 pounds, Murphy puts the “big” into big defensive end, with the ability to be a versatile chess piece who can make an impact from anywhere on the line. His combination of size, speed (his pro day performance was a testament to his eye-popping athleticism), and strength should see him be a constant pressure force at the NFL level.
Round 2, Pick 60: DJ Turner, CB, Michigan
A riser late in the process, DJ Turner boasts all the physical tools that you look for when evaluating a cornerback prospect. He’s fast – with the fastest 40-yard dash time at the 2023 NFL Combine – fluid, and flashes high-level technical ability.
Turner does a good job of balancing the physicality and aggression that you need to possess to play CB in the NFL, with a patient approach to man coverage that ensures he’s routinely in a position to make a play. He should challenge for early playing time in a Cincinnati secondary that lost some pieces this offseason.
Round 3, Pick 95: Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
With Jessie Bates departed from Cincinnati, it would have been a huge surprise not to see the Bengals address the safety position in the draft. Sure enough, they take Jordan Battle out of Alabama at No. 95 overall. Although he’s not an elite athlete, Battle has the football intelligence to be an impact-maker in multiple phases of the defense from several alignments.
His positional versatility, coverage fluidity, and the tackling technique and reliability that you’d expect from a Nick Saban-coached defensive back could see Battle start as a rookie.
Round 4, Pick 131: Charlie Jones, WR, Purdue
Charlie Jones parlays a productive season at Purdue into an all-star game invite and now a fourth-round selection of the Cincinnati Bengals. Jones gives the Bengals a crisp route runner who plays with excellent burst and decent long speed. Jones also adds kick and punt return value to a Bengals WR room that is amongst the most impressive in the NFL.
Round 5, Pick 163: Chase Brown, RB, Illinois
The Bengals land one of the most productive running backs in college football from last season. Chase Brown might be coming off an injury, but he adds an interesting element to the Cincinnati backfield.
The Illinois RB is built a little like a power back but has genuine straight-line speed that is weaponized by short-area burst, explosion, and the ability to cut on a dime. No stranger to handling a heavy workload, he could see significant snaps early in his NFL career.
Round 6, Pick 206: Andrei Iosivas, WR, Princeton
The Bengals double up on athletic pass catchers on the third day of the 2023 NFL Draft. Former Princeton WR Andrei Iosivas impressed at the Senior Bowl, showcasing that he belongs at the top level. His size (6’3”, 205 pounds) and athletic profile that powered a RAS of 9.96 could help Iosivas develop into a dangerous pass-catching weapon.
While it’s a great value pick for the Bengals, double-dipping at the position while avoiding the offensive line so far may come back to bite them.
Round 6, Pick 217: Brad Robbins, P, Michigan
It actually makes me physically sick to give a punter a C grade – it would ordinarily be a guaranteed A regardless of pick number or need. Brad Robbins boasts NFL-requisite hang time and has the ability to place the ball inside the 20 with some regularity.
However, he doesn’t boast the leg power of some of his contemporaries in the class. Furthermore, my No. 1 punter in the class — Rutgers’ Adam Korsak — is still in the green room waiting to hear his name called.
Round 7, Pick 246: DJ Ivey, CB, Miami (FL)
Emphasizing the need for wholesale additions to the secondary, the Bengals finish off their 2023 NFL Draft class by adding another cornerback to their class. DJ Ivey had the most statistically stellar season of his career in 2022, snagging two interceptions and five pass breakups.
The 6’1”, 195-pound CB has the size, speed, and physicality to make an impact as a depth piece for the Bengals. Yet, there were more highly ranked cornerbacks available from the PFN Big Board.
What Were the Bengals’ Biggest Needs Entering the Draft?
- TE, G, S, OT
The Bengals are interesting because they have more than just a handful of needs, but none are so severe that they take away from what should be one of the top contenders in the AFC. Jonah Williams has requested a trade, but either way, he won’t be a Bengal in 2024, and it would behoove Cincinnati to think ahead regarding replacing him.
A tight end will not make or break the offense. The Bengals could stand to upgrade left guard, and Nick Scott shouldn’t be a long-term answer at safety.
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