What Bengals’ 2023 NFL draft says about TE, OL and other takeaways

The Cincinnati Bengals provided some in-your-face and not-so-obvious lessons with their path through the 2023 NFL draft.

There, the Bengals made eight picks, compiling a class that received widespread praise:

  • Round 1, No. 28: DE Myles Murphy, Clemson

  • Round 2, No. 60: CB DJ Turner, Michigan

  • Round 3, No. 95: S Jordan Battle, Alabama

  • Round 4, No. 131: WR Charlie Jones, Purdue

  • Round 5, No. 163: RB Chase Brown, Illinois

  • Round 6, No. 206: WR Andrei Iosivas, Princeton

  • Round 6, No. 217: P Brad Robbins, Michigan

  • Round 7, No. 246: CB DJ Ivey, Miami

It was another strong showing for Duke Tobin and Co., with even the surprising picks making sense and walking that fine tightrope between need and value.

Here’s a look at some of the key takeaways.

Our undrafted free agency tracker is here.

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About the offensive line...

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…they’re happy with the unit. Not using a single of their eight picks says it all. And it’s hard to blame them. There are four starters cemented already and four names fighting it out at right tackle. La’el Collins, Jonah Williams, Cody Ford and Jackson Carman all have a shot there. The first is injured and the second wants a trade, but the options are there. Figuring out that position long-term would have been nice, but it was a luxury, especially when they’re doing a much better job of just paying up big for linemen other teams have already developed.

Tobin and Co. don't value TE...

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…nearly as much as outsiders do. That, plus they really have to like what they have with Irv Smith Jr., yet another one-year, cheap deal at the position sure to outperform the contract. Maybe the board just didn’t fall the right way, too, but realistically, tight end is fourth at best behind the three wideouts and could be fifth behind running back in the progression order. Smith, Drew Sample and the potential re-addition of the injured Mitchell Wilcox could make for a nice depth chart again.

Separation a theme

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Bengals coaches are clearly tired of backup wideouts being unable to get open quickly. They added Charlie Jones in the fourth, a guy who worked all over the field last year, shaking free for 110 catches. Then, Andrei Iosivas in the sixth, one of the most explosive wideout athletes in modern times. Having special teams aces like Stanley Morgan is nice, but they needed more suddenness from the backups. Plus, formations with more than three wideouts just became much harder for defenses to handle.

Safety is a question mark...

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…and that explains the Jordan Battle pick. Battle was an amazing value in the third round and his resume just screams Bengals. He’s got enough to steal a starting job over the summer or force Lou Anarumo to find other ways to get him on the field. A loud portion of fans seemed disgruntled because the team already technically has two starters at the position. But what’s guaranteed there? Nick Scott was a mid-tier signing with upside and Dax Hill, though a first-rounder, is the definition of unproven. They wanted the experience and reliability and options and got it all with Battle.

Don't sleep on...

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Charlie Jones. The 110 catches were cool and he’s certainly got the skills to play in Tyler Boyd’s spot if necessary. But he should feast in sets of three-plus wideouts as he gets to likely work against an opponent’s worst cornerback or linebackers, etc. Oh, and he was also the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Year in 2021 as a dynamic returner. He’s got a shot to win that role and be the biggest threat on returns the Bengals have had in years.


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That’s a fun word to use for this draft class. It’s uncanny in the way a roster core that has nearly made two Super Bowls in a row found six or seven prospects who can make the final roster — and all have an impact.

Maybe that’s a too-rosy way of looking at things. But run down the list. Myles Murphy will get rotational snaps right away. DJ Turner can see the field in place of injured Chidobe Awuzie if necessary and in DB-heavy sets. Jordan Battle could outright win a job or otherwise rotate. Charlie Jones could win the returner battles and spell Tyler Boyd. Chase Brown can be in the rotation with Joe Mixon. Brad Robbins can win the punter job. That leaves Andrei Iosivas and DJ Ivey. Both could at least put up a fight for a final roster spot.

That’s an uncanny haul that could provide immediate impacts. It also walks the fine line of long-term replacement. The wideouts for Boyd. The ‘back for Mixon. The edge rusher for Trey Hendrickson, etc. The defensive backs for Awuzie and others. The Bengals needed to get cheaper and younger on defense, especially as money goes to the offense and did.



Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire