The Cincinnati Bengals have gone hard in free agency again. They signed Orlando Brown Jr to be the new left tackle. Nick Scott was brought in from the Rams to replace Vonn Bell. And Irv Smith Jr signed a 1-year deal to be one of the tight ends.
They now enter the draft with no clear holes on the roster that require immediate attention. So, now the Cincinnati Bengals can look to filling spots that will be needed in 2024 and beyond.
There is also the specter of what to do with Jonah Williams. After the signing of Brown, Williams requested a trade. I believe he will remain on the roster until training camp. They should have an idea by then of where La’el Collins is in his rehab or the progression of any possible draft picks. This could also maximize the potential value of 2024 draft compensation in a return for Jonah Williams.
Cincinnati Bengals 2023 Mock Draft
I used the mock draft simulator over at NFL Mock Draft Database to simulate the results with me only picking for the Bengals.
The Bengals trade back with the Las Vegas Raiders. Vegas moves up ten picks to select Michigan DL Mazi Smith.
Trade Details: Raiders pickup pick 28; Bengals acquire picks 38 and 109.
2-38: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
Gibbs is a dynamic running back. One like the Bengals doesn’t currently have on their roster. Gibbs can take this offense to another level, both as a home run hitter and in the passing game.
The question would then become what to do with Joe Mixon. Mixon carries a 2023 cap number of $12.5 million. They could designate him as a post-June 1st cut and use those savings to aid in the potential extensions of Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, and/or Logan Wilson. Cincinnati could then sign a cheap veteran back to pair with Gibbs.
Mixon could also agree to a pay cut to lower his cap number. They would then pair him with the rookie back.
2-60: Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa
The Bengals signed Irv Smith and re-signed Drew Sample to one-year deals. They also have Devin Asiasi on the roster. None of those players are long-term answers. LaPorta offers plus athleticism but lacks the collegiate production you would like to see. This is a product of a horrifically poor Hawkeyes’ offense. He also is an average blocker. South Dakota State TE Tucker Kraft was also on the board. I am guessing that will be an interesting debate in the Bengals’ draft room.
3-92: Tyler Steen, OT, Alabama
Steen transferred to Alabama from Vanderbilt. He is a great athlete. Steen looked strong at the Senior Bowl. This is likely a draft and development pick. Especially if Jonah WIliams is retained.
Cincinnati moves five spots back after a trade with the Carolina Panthers who really wanted Army edge rusher Andre Carter II.
Trade Details: Panthers pick up pick 109; Bengals acquire picks 114 and 132
4-114: Kyu Blu Kelly, CB, Stanford
Kelly has a tremendous change of direction ability with decent size. A 4.52 in the forty is probably what gets him into round four. I like Kelly’s tape a lot. I could see him pairing with Cam Taylor-Britt in 2024 as a potential starter. At worst, he is a cheap CB4.
4-131: K.J. Henry, EDGE, Clemson
Henry is a former 5* recruit who never really hit his ceiling at Clemson. He is a little undersized for a typical Lou Anarumo edge defender. However, Henry could be a nice rotational piece.
4-132: Emil Ekiyor Jr, IOL, Alabama
Ekiyor is a versatile player. He has played tackle and guard at Alabama. Ekiyor also spent all week at the Senior Bowl taking center reps. That kind of adaptability is extremely valuable with a mid-round pick.
5-163: Jalen Redmond, DL, Oklahoma
Redmond has pass-rush ability from the interior. At this stage of the draft, he would enter into a competition to make the roster with players like Jay Tufele and Josh Tupou.
6-206: Ronnie Bell, WR, Michigan
The Bengals will need a reliable slot option after the 2023 season when Tyler Boyd is inevitably allowed to move on. Bell can make the roster this season as WR4/5 if he can beat out the likes of Trenton Irwin. Bell has returned a handful of punts at Michigan and could get looks there as well ahead of Trent Taylor.
Ronnie Bell is a WR prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 8.20 #RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 551 out of 3048 WR from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/HZNSVbz6rE pic.twitter.com/JVPUdbVcsr
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 15, 2023
7-246: Blake Whiteheart, TE, Wake Forest
Why not double up at the tight end spot? Whiteheart caught 24 passes this season for Wake. He has the athletic ability you would like to take a flyer on late in the draft.
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