Bengals UDFA Jaxson Kirkland a breakout candidate to watch
For the Cincinnati Bengals, Jaxson Kirkland stands out the most among the team’s list of undrafted free agents in the wake of the NFL draft.
Kirkland has a few things going for him, which would explain his choosing the team in undrafted free agency in the first place.
For one, he was at one point considered a mid-round pick during the draft process, which suggests a bit of value for the Bengals if coaches can unlock some of that once he arrives in training camp.
Given his pass-protection background and ability to play inside and out, he’s just the type of versatile lineman Bengals coaches like to pursue.
And two, the Bengals didn’t use even one of their eight picks in the draft on the offensive line, signaling loud and clear that they’re comfortable with the starting positions — but open to depth competition shaking up the roster.
Draft Wire’s Jeff Risdon would agree, spotlighting Kirkland as the team’s undrafted free agent to watch:
Once viewed as a potential top-50 prospect before injuries derailed his Huskies career, Kirkland is an experienced, physical blocker who can play either guard spot or right tackle. The Bengals were a smart choice for Kirkland, who is not a developmental-type of talent. They need help now, and the 25-year-old could offer it.
Kirkland even showed well at pre-draft activities against level competition, with some AFC North-styled feistiness to boot:
Jaxson Kirkland might make some noise this summer for the Bengals as an UDFA pic.twitter.com/5d2OWLBCgI
— Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) May 1, 2023
It’s going to be hard for a rookie undrafted lineman to make a roster spot on the Bengals considering, for better or worse, some of the team’s backups have extensive playoff and even Super Bowl starting experience.
But of the team’s undrafted free agents so far, Kirkland has to be considered the favorite to crack a spot on the final 53 if he can put up a strong summer.
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