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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / 2023 State of the League: Cincinnati Bengals

2023 State of the League: Cincinnati Bengals

Breaking down the AFC North: each team's key free agent moves, trades, potential impact Draft choices, and more.
Publish Date: 07/20/2023
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

2022 Record: 12 – 4 (3 – 3 vs AFC North)

General Manager: Mike Brown

Head Coach: Zac Taylor

Offensive Coordinator: Brian Callahan

Defensive Coordinator: Lou Anarumo

Special Teams Coordinator: Darrin Simmons

 

Projected Preseason Starting Lineup:

PositionStarterBackup
QBJoe BurrowTrevor Siemian
RBJoe MixonChase Brown (R)
WR1Ja’Marr ChaseCharlie Jones (R)
WR2Tee HigginsTrenton Irwin
WR3Tyler BoydAndrei Iosivas (R)
TEIrv Smith Jr.Drew Sample
LTOrlando Brown Jr.Jackson Carman
LGCordell VolsonMax Scharping
CTed KarrasTrey Hill
RGAlex CappaHakeem Adeniji
RTJonah WilliamsLa’el Collins
PositionStarterBackup
DESam HubbardMyles Murphy (R)
DTDJ ReaderJosh Tupou
DTB.J. HillZach Carter
DETrey HendricksonJoseph Ossai
OLBLogan WilsonJoe Bachie
MLBGermaine Pratt
OLBAkeem Davis-GaitherMarkus Bailey
FSDax HillTycen Anderson
CB1Chidobe AwuzieDJ Turner (R)
CB2Cam Taylor-BrittSidney Jones IV
CB3Mike HiltonJalen Davis
SSNick ScottJordan Battle (R)

 

2023 NFL Draft Class:

RoundPickPlayer NamePositionCollege
128Myles MurphyEDGEClemson
260D.J. TurnerCBMichigan
395Jordan BattleSAlabama
4131Charlie JonesWRPurdue
5163Chase BrownRBIllinois
6206Andrei IosivasWRPrinceton
6217Brad RobbinsPMichigan
7246D.J. IveyCBMiami (FL)
Video: Full Breakdown Of The Bengals' 2023 NFL Draft [Player Comps + Projections] | CBS Sports

Full Breakdown Of The Bengals’ 2023 NFL Draft [Player Comps + Projections] | CBS Sports

Cincinnati Bengals Offseason Review

Cincinnati came into this offseason needing to beef up the offensive line (again…), and kicked off free agency by signing the top offensive tackle on the market. Orlando Brown Jr., fresh off a Super Bowl win with Kansas City, will slide right in as the starting left tackle for Cincy. There will be a battle at right tackle between a few players, but with La’el Collins coming off a major knee injury, Jonah Williams seems to be the most likely option to start. Williams is often the target of Bengals fans wrath, and after allowing a league leading 12 sacks last season, it will be interesting to see just how much competition he gets in training camp.

Video: Joe Burrow Top Plays of the 2022 Season

Joe Burrow Top Plays of the 2022 Season

Although they weren’t stars, both runningback Samaje Perine and tight end Hayden Hurst played important roles on offense. Both players took free agent deals elsewhere this offseason. The team brought in Irv Smith from Minnesota as a free agent to fill Hurst’s hole as the receiving tight end. Cincinnati still has Trayveon Williams and Chris Evans at tailback, but neither did much of anything when called upon this past season. Chase Brown was selected in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, and he could play a big role in place of Perine with a good training camp and preseason. Brown needs work as a receiver and protecting the ball, but he has breakaway speed, and the potential to outplay his draft status. Joe Mixon re-worked his contract just before training camp to stay with the Bengals, but the writing is on the wall and he might be moving on after this season or next.

Cincinnati has done a great job in the Draft in recent seasons, and they continued that trend this offseason. Each of their top three picks should see the field early and often, and sixth round pick Brad Robbins is expected to challenge for the starting punter spot right away. Myles Murphy lost some luster throughout the Draft process, but has the elite strength/speed combo teams covet. Cincinnati finished with only 30 sacks as a team – one of the lowest totals in the league. Addressing the pass rush was a priority, and the team checked that need off the list with the addition of Murphy.

With both starting safeties Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell leaving in free agency, Dax Hill (last year’s first round pick) is slated to be one of the new starters. The Bengals also signed Nick Scott in free agency to start alongside Hill. With Eli Apple no longer on the team, Cincinnati will turn to last year’s second round pick, Cam Taylor-Britt, to start at cornerback opposite Chidobe Awuzie (who is coming off a season ending injury). Cincinnati added depth at both corner and safety in this year’s NFL Draft when they selected DJ Turner and Jordan Battle in the second and third rounds. Turner can get bullied by bigger receivers, but is an elite athlete who has the tools to develop into a starter at cornerback. Battle could compete with Scott for a starting role at safety as a rookie, but will see plenty of playing time regardless in three safety sets and when Hill shifts over to the slot.

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