Cincinnati Bengals: 2023 NFL Mock Draft

The Cincinnati Bengals will almost definitely make further changes in the offseason of 2023. This is especially since they still have some interesting holes to fill on their roster. Also, the Bengals will seek to be as deep as possible. Of course, they can do so through the draft. Here we’ll look at which rookie prospects the Bengals will draft with each of their picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.

There are only a couple of weeks between now and the 2023 NFL Draft. For the second consecutive offseason, the Bengals will choose at the end of the first round. Once again, they must consider positions like offensive line in the first round. Unlike last year’s draft class, this year’s rookies may need to come in and play meaningful snaps early on after the team suffered huge free-agent losses. Apart from the offensive line, other positions that need depth are tight end, pass-rusher, and cornerback, among others.

Let’s look at who the Bengals will choose in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Cincinnati Bengals: 2023 NFL Mock Draft

1st round 28th overall pick: OT Darnell Wright

Despite the Bengals’ efforts to improve their offensive line prior to the 2022 season, quarterback Joe Burrow was still sacked 41 times. That ranked sixth-most in the NFL.

Sure, the Bengals made a shrewd move by signing Orlando Brown to a four-year, $64 million contract, which is team-friendly. However, the signing prompted Jonah Williams, the Bengals’ first-round pick in 2019 and a tackle, to request a trade. Additionally, La’el Collins, another Bengals tackle, has struggled with injuries throughout his career, including in 2022.

As such, the team needs to seek a potential right tackle. Darnell Wright is a viable candidate as he performed well in Tennessee. He even outplayed prominent college football pass-rushers such as Will Anderson from Alabama. Wright played right tackle in 2020 and left tackle in 2021 before returning to right tackle in 2022. He is a better-than-average pass protector on either side and can overpower defenders in the running game. This makes him especially valuable on the right side. In 2022, Wright allowed only six quarterback hurries and no sacks. That showed his effectiveness as a blocker.

2nd round 60th overall pick: TE Darnell Washington

The Bengals have a void to fill at tight end. However, it may be more prudent for them to wait until the second round instead of using a first-round pick. The draft is abundant in promising tight ends, so there will likely be plenty of quality players to choose from at No. 60. Strangely enough, despite the depth of this position, NFL teams tend to be cautious in using higher picks on tight ends. Keep in mind that only one tight end was selected within the first 54 picks in each of the last three drafts.

As for Washington, experts regarded him as one of the top players in the country when he graduated from high school. He is a conventional in-line Y tight end. Because of his blocking ability, he is an excellent asset on running downs. Washington employs both gap and zone-blocking strategies and has a ton of promise as a pass-catcher.

#UGA TE Darnell Washington makes it a habit to show off his athleticism in the open field, hurdling defensive backs at 6-7, 264, even if it doesn’t always work.

Plucks the football out of the air on vertical routes especially and can see him being a big red zone threat early on

— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) April 6, 2023

3rd round 92nd overall pick: CB Clark Phillips

Next up, the Bengals’ 92nd overall pick should land them talented cornerback Clark Phillips from Utah. Although Phillips has the talent to be an early Day 2 pick, his 5’9 height may cause him to drop in the draft. That said, he could be a great fit for the Bengals’ defense. Take note also that the team met with him at the combine.

4th round 131st overall pick: RB Tyjae Spears

With Joe Mixon’s future uncertain, it’s likely that the Bengals will select a running back in the draft. Yes, Mixon has one year left on his contract. Still, his $12.76 million salary cap hit in 2023 may cause the team to reduce his salary or release him. That could free up significant cap space. Meanwhile, Spears possesses big-play ability. He also has a dynamic skill set with the ball in his hands. That makes him an enticing NFL supplementary back who can help vary an attack.

5th round 163rd overall pick: WR Elijah Higgins

In the fifth round, the Bengals should choose Stanford’s Elijah Higgins. He is a relatively unknown wide receiver in college football due to playing for a less-than-stellar team. While he has yet to produce at a high level, his physical attributes and ability to create mismatches should make him a promising prospect. He could be used in various positions, similar to AJ Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, or Allen Lazard. However, Higgins will need time and proper usage to flourish.

6th round 206th overall pick: LB Ventrell Miller

With the 206th overall pick in the 6th round, the Bengals should draft Ventrell Miller, a linebacker from Florida. Miller has been a key contributor to the Florida defense for several seasons and has shown high levels of football knowledge and instincts. He is also skilled in pass coverage, particularly in a zone defense.

7th round 246th overall pick: QB Tanner McKee

Finally, in the 7th round with the 246th overall pick, the Bengals should draft Tanner McKee. He is a quarterback from Stanford. Although McKee was a highly-rated recruit, his development is still a work in progress due to his limited physical and athletic tools. That said, he has the potential to become a strong backup quarterback with improved mental skills.

The post Cincinnati Bengals: 2023 NFL Mock Draft appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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