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Cincinnati Bengals May Scouting Report
So the draft is in the books and most people came away with a pretty good feeling about the 2023 version of Cincinnati Bengals football.
From a fantasy standpoint, there wasn’t too much that will impact things greatly in 2023 outside of one player, unless something unforeseen happens. Such is the life of a rookie on a team that is rock solid top to bottom.
Here is where the team stands from a position by position basis.
First the quarterbacks. It is QB Joe Burrow, QB Trevor Siemian and QB Jake Browning. Brandon Allen went to the 49ers. He was the primary backup to Burrow last season. Possible to add a veteran before camp but unlikely.
The running backs are good and deep. RB Joe Mixon, RB Trayveon Williams, RB Chris Evans are the incumbents who will be challenged by drafted RB Chase Brown. Brown wasn’t high on my list of backs for this draft but he will get a chance as the second back behind Mixon. He was a workhorse at Illinois and if he can adapt to the pro game he could be a steal. Mixon is dealing with legal trouble but will make the team if he comes out clean. If guilty, though, the rest of the these runners and even a free agent might skyrocket in value. Evans I thought was good when given a chance but the Brown pick makes me wonder.
The wide receivers are a solid lot but there could be changes coming … at the very least some good competition in camp. WR Ja’Marr Chase, WR Tee Higgins, WR Tyler Boyd are locked and loaded. Beyond that rookie WR Charlie Jones and rookie WR Andrei Iosivas figure to get a long look. They could be in the mix this season with Jones seeing some time as a return guy for sure. Both could be in the rotation next year if Boyd leaves. Others are veteran WR Trenton Irwin, WR Trent Taylor, WR Stanley Morgan, WR Kwamie Lassister and WR Shedrick Jackson, who is Bo Jackson’s nephew and will be on the roster I would say at least as a practice squad guy.
At tight end, everyone wanted this team to take one in the first round. There weren’t any available the Bengals thought were of value at the time. So TE Irv Smith Jr gets the early nod to start with Drew Sample and Devin Asiasi next in line. Maybe a veteran comes in at some point if they feel there is a need. This is not an offense that features the tight. No better right now than the fourth option in 2023 and even if Boyd leaves next year the tight end isn’t going to suddenly be a Travis Kelce like position.
The offensive line is solid all the way around. If healthy and happy, this is a great group with depth. Of course, the Bengals have been limited by injury here in recent years so what things look like in May are vastly different than what they could look like next January. But for now strong group that can dominant in pass game or run game.
At kicker, Evan McPherson is the man. He was great as a rookie but slipped a bit last year. Maybe slipped is too harsh but he didn’t have the same year in 2023 as he did in 2022. He is still really good. No change here.
On defense, the Bengals selected DL Myles Murphy, DB DJ Turner, SS Jordan Battle in the draft. All figure to play this season. How much is to be determined.
The linebackers are solid with Germaine Pratt and Logan Wilson the starters and Akeem Davis-Gaither the top backup. Markus Bailey and Joe Bachie are in the mix as well but this team is likely to put two linebackers on the field instead of three so that limits the opportunities.
Some believe Battle could be a great individual defensive player so keep an eye on the Alabama standout. Tycen Anderson is a second year guy who could impact things beyond Dax Hill and Nick Scott in the secondary.
The corners are good if heatlhy. Chidobe Awuzie is coming back from injury and may miss the start of the season but Mike Hilton, Cam Taylor-Britt and Turner figure to hold down the fort. Sidney Jones IV comes from Seattle via free agency is a great depth piece.
In the end I could see a veteran coming in at some point after minicamp. No major impact veterans but a depth piece is possible. Mixon’s legal issues are something to keep an eye on as it would have a huge impact on the running back room for this team. He’s also likely due a pay cut if he wants to stay. I can’t imagine he’d walk away from this team to go elsewhere for more money. Too close to a Super Bowl for that and I’m sure he would like that more than the money, but you never know. Beyond that this team is set just about everywhere on the starting units and has good depth everywhere as of right now. Just need to stay healthy and return to health to make another Super Bowl run.
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