Reviewing Bengals key needs ahead of scouting combine
The Cincinnati Bengals approach the 2023 scouting combine with a few obvious key needs to address.
A year ago, the Bengals had the luxury of taking a very future-looking approach to the draft, especially in the early rounds. That likely won’t be the case this offseason as major names head to free agency and potentially leave on the open market.
Before the scouting combine really gets going this week, a refresher on the team’s key needs, in no particular order:
Some of these are more simplistic than others. At LB, for example, the need goes away instantly if they re-sign Germaine Pratt. And even if they don’t, they might be content to let names like Akeem Davis-Gaither fill the void.
It’s a similar story at TE if they bring Hayden Hurst back and fill in depth names behind him. If not, it’s a wicked-deep draft class for the spot.
Joe Mixon’s fate remains an unknown at RB. Either way, they’re likely to add a combination of free agent (Samaje Perine?) and a rookie to shore up the need.
Eli Apple is a free agent at DB behind the starting trio of Chidobe Awuzie, Cam Taylor-Britt and Mike Hilton. There’s a serious depth issue that isn’t as bad if Apple re-ups. Either way, expect them to hit it, potentially as early as Round 1 with Awuzie still rehabbing.
The problems across the OL showed up big in the playoffs, as they would when any team loses three starters. They need to massively upgrade depth. A Round 1 OT would compete with La’el Collins (if they don’t use an out in his contract to cut him), if not fill in while he missed time early next season.
As always, what the Bengals do in free agency could dramatically alter the draft approach. But those are the big needs as the combine starts.
Touchdown Wire has an excellent combine primer and prospect rankings to track.
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