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Cincinnati Bengals 2023 NFL Draft Review

Bengals 2023 Draft

The two-time reigning and defending AFC North champions completed their 2023 NFL Draft haul on Sunday and they addressed a number of depth concerns. They got younger and even faster on defense and added a few playmakers on offense to either spell the end for one veteran or just to provide more depth, overall. It was obvious that they prioritized athletes and guys who can do things you just can’t teach. Of their eight picks, four have RAS of 9.58 or higher.

In this Cincinnati Bengals draft class review, a pair of Bengals writers will team up to provide analysis for the latest crop of future Bengals stars. With large extensions looming on the offensive side of the ball, they’ll need to hit on their draft picks — as the Kansas City Chiefs have done — if they want to continue their elite play while keeping their stars happy.

Cincinnati Bengals 2023 Draft Review

Round 1, Pick 28: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

Scott Dougherty: First off the board for the Bengals was Clemson defensive end Myles Murphy. A productive player for the Tigers, Murphy collected 17.5 sacks and 37 tackles for a loss across three seasons. Coming into the 2022 season, the former top-5 recruit was predicted to go high in the draft, but his projections fell some after his junior season. Still, he was widely viewed as a first-rounder, with some considering him the third-best EDGE player available after Will Anderson and Tyree Wilson. He ultimately ended up being the fifth player off the board at the position.

The team was in search of help for a pass rush that produced 12 fewer sacks in 2022 vs 2021, finishing with 30. This was good for the fourth-worst in the league. Outside of Trey Hendrickson, the team lacked contributors who were able to generate consistent pressure.

At 6’5″ and 268 lbs, Murphy is the prototypical size for the position. He is also an elite athlete, posting a 4.5s 40-yard dash at the 2023 NFL combine.

As a rookie Murphy will rotate in to spell Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard. He also provides security should Hendrickson depart after the 2024 season when his contract ends. He will need to refine some of his pass rush moves and work on play recognition, but fans should expect an immediate impact from him.

Full Myles Murphy draft profile

Round 2, Pick 60: DJ Turner, Cornerback, Michigan

Drew Crabtree: The Bengals continued to add to their defense and did so with lethal speed. DJ Turner, out of Michigan, is ridiculously fast. He ran the fastest 40 time at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine with a whopping 4.26. You can’t teach speed and, even if you could, there’s no way you could coach your way to 4.26 speed.

There was a need at corner with the assumed departure of Eli Apple. Plus, there’s always the possibility that Chidobe Awuzie comes back from his injury and loses a step. At worst, this is a high-end depth selection. At best? Cincinnati has its new CB2 as Cam Taylor-Britt takes over the top role.

Turner was a legit player at Michigan all three years of his career. In the last two years, Turner started all 28 games and finished with a very nice stat line of 69 tackles, two for loss, three interceptions, one pick-six, and a fumble recovery that he scooped and scored.

The Bengals drafted a very fluid corner who will be able to stick to receivers from the start. He may be a bit undersized but he plays larger than one would think. Cincinnati got a real good player in Turner and he will make that cornerback unit stronger in 2023.

Full D.J. Turner draft profile

Round 3, Pick 95: Jordan Battle, Safety, Alabama

SD: While the Bengals drafted two safeties last year in Dax Hill and Tycen Anderson, the off-season departure of both Jesse Bates III and Vonn Bell left room for the team to further add to the secondary.

Enter Jordan Battle out of Alabama. Versatility is the name of his game; having been used in the slot, as a box safety, and as a deep coverage man in the Crimson Tide defense. Bengals defensive coordinator loves using disguised coverages and highly values players that can be used in a multitude of ways, no doubt this played a large role in the team drafting him.

Battle joins Hill, Anderson, Michael Thomas, and free agent signing Nick Scott as the team looks for players to step up and fill the void left by the Bates and Bell tandem. He may not win the starting job out of training camp but is likely to still contribute on special teams and select packages.

Full Jordan Battle draft profile

Round 4, Pick 131: Charlie Jones, Wide Receiver, Purdue

SD: The trio of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd is one of, if not the best group of pass catchers in the league. But it’s no secret that keeping them together long-term is a slim possibility. Boyd, whose contract is up after 2024, might be the odd man out. The selection of Charlie Jones points to this outcome, as he profiles similar as a slot wide receiver.

Jones played for one season at the University of Buffalo and two seasons at Iowa before transferring to Purdue. His decision to transfer paid off, as he caught 110 passes for a team-record 1,361 yards. He did this while playing for an inconsistent offense as their only true threat, and was still able to produce despite attention from opposing defenses.

Like most of this draft class, Jones is highly athletic. He has experience as a punt returner and may compete for that role. While unlikely to supplant Boyd as a rookie, he should see some snaps in four and five wide sets and will look to learn from Boyd, one of the best slots in the game.

Full Charlie Jones draft profile

Round 5, Pick 163: Chase Brown, Running Back, Illinois

DC: All offseason, Bengals fans and national pundits have prepared themselves for Joe Mixon getting served his walking papers. Samaje Perine ended up leaving for greener pastures (by greener, we mean more money), so it was obvious that this team was going to take at least one new running back. Based on comments made by offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, Mixon is in the Bengals plan for 2023 despite his high cap hit.

In the fifth round, the Bengals chose to finally address the running back room and found their guy out of Illinois. Chase Brown was an uber-productive back and helped lead his Fighting Illini to an 8-5 record, their best since 2007. Last year, Brown went off for 1,643 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground and ended up with a grand total of 1,883 scrimmage yards. Over his career, Brown amassed 4,079 yards from scrimmage and 21 touchdowns off of 676 rushing attempts and 58 receptions.

Running back is a position that a team can use a late-round pick on to lead the team. Brown has the ability to do so, but he does have a lot of wear and tear considering he’s been the bellcow for Illinois in each of the last three seasons. He is a smooth runner who also can pack a punch. It’s likely that he will be the next feature back in Cincinnati while serving as RB2 behind Mixon. That is, of course, assuming that he does not just ball out this summer and give the Bengals an easy out.

Full Chase Brown draft profile

Round 6, Pick 206: Andrei Iosivas, Wide Receiver, Princeton

DC: There are some things you just can’t coach. Being 6’3″ and boasting 4.4 speed are two of those things. Despite coming to Cincinnati from Princeton, Andrei Iosivas will have the opportunity to compete for a legitimate roster spot in 2023, possibly displacing a fan-favorite.

Iosivas is as sure-handed and reliable as they come. He’s coming off of a season where he accounted for 943 yards and seven touchdowns off of 66 receptions. The saying goes “slow feet don’t eat,” so Iosivas is going to get his fill. He has great footwork off the snap and can get separation, something Bengals receivers outside of the top three struggled to do last year.

He’s not going to supplant any of the three amigos and will likely be a rotational piece, especially considering the Bengals selected another receiver just two rounds prior. He has plenty of talent and ability to work with. He’s a bit raw as a prospect due to his level of competition but he can play as an understudy for either Chase or Higgins to be able to come in for a spell. Or, knock on wood, if anything were to happen to either.

Full Andrei Iosivas draft profile

Round 6, Pick 217: Brad Robbins, Punter, Michigan

SD: Longtime Bengals punter Kevin Huber lost his job last season to Drue Chrisman, but the team was not satisfied with his performance either. Most notably in the AFC Championship when his punt late in the 4th quarter had little hangtime and was returned by Skyy Moore, ultimately setting up the Chiefs game-winning field goal.

Brad Robbins had an illustrious career at Michigan. He finished his career of five seasons averaging 43 yards a punt, which is second in school history. He looks to compete for the starting position with Chrisman this year.

Round 7, Pick 246: DJ Ivey, Cornerback, Miami (FL)

DC: Rounding out the Bengals 2023 draft class is DJ Ivey out of Miami (FL). Cincinnati loves to double-dip premium positions and they did so twice this year with two corners and receivers selected. Even if a late seventh-rounder could be just another flier, Ivey could very well challenge for a roster spot this fall.

In his five years on campus, Ivey appeared in 47 games including 10+ in each of the last four years. As a corner, he finished with 127 tackles, four for loss, a sack, five interceptions, 11 pass deflections, a pair of forced fumbles, and a pair of recoveries. He’s a highly-seasoned leader who has seen and done everything.

Ivey is another no-cost, decent-reward type of player that the Bengals love. He has the intangibles they look for and brings serious experience to Cincinnati.

Main Image:  Liz Dufour/Cincinnati Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK


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