The Cincinnati Bengals got some good picks from the 2023 NFL Draft. However, they still have some roster spots to fill as they enter the next phase of the offseason. Here we are going to look at three free agents whom the Bengals must target after the 2023 NFL Draft.
After acquiring eight draft picks via the 2023 NFL draft, Duke Tobin and his team revamped the Bengals’ depth chart and projected 53-man roster. From what we can see now, it’s quite likely that most of those prospects could secure a spot on the final roster. This is due to the team’s smart drafting strategy. Recall that they targeted both positional needs and value. This resulted in versatile rookies with skills that can contribute right away.
However, there’s always room for more progress. The Bengals could benefit from improving other areas, particularly their backfield or secondary. Keep in mind that they continue to build a strong and competitive team.
Let’s look at three free agents the Bengals must target after the draft.
1. RB Ezekiel Elliott
It’s absurd that Ezekiel Elliott remains unsigned at this point. As the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, he has lived up to the hype as a top-five selection. He has proven himself to be one of the most successful running backs in Dallas Cowboys history.
Sure, it’s true that he has endured significant wear and tear throughout his career. Still, it’s surprising that teams in need of running back depth haven’t made a move to acquire him yet. Why let other teams have first dibs on such a talented player?
There’s even a chance that the Cowboys could bring him back, though it’s uncertain if that ship has already sailed. Another possible destination could be the Los Angeles Chargers. That’s where Elliott’s former OC Kellen Moore is now a coach. Despite having Austin Ekeler in their backfield, the Chargers could benefit from adding Elliott. This is especially if Ekeler’s trade request is not granted.
Aside from the Chargers, of course, the Bengals could also be a good fit for Elliott. Right now, the Bengals have Joe Mixon as RB1 followed by rookie Chase Brown. Brown certainly has potential, but Elliott could take this backfield over the top. His experience and skill set would make him a valuable addition to the Bengals. They are looking to have their running game complement their already potent air attack.
The Ezekiel Elliott era in Dallas has come to a close
“Zeke was the heart and soul. Him and this offensive line is the reason why we started thinking about Dallas in the way we think about the Dallas Cowboys.” —@mspears96 pic.twitter.com/YXqHuKzd6H
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) March 15, 2023
2. OG Dalton Risner
Yes, Dalton Risner may not be the player to transform an entire offensive line. Still, he certainly won’t be the weak link in the chain. As a starter since entering the league in 2019, Risner has proven himself to be a reliable player. This is despite dealing with minor injuries that have caused him to miss a few games each year.
In terms of pass protection, Risner is far from a liability. According to PFF, he has allowed four sacks or fewer in each of his seasons. He has also never drawn more than four penalties in a single season. While he may not receive Pro Bowl recognition, he is a valuable player who consistently delivers solid results.
As such, Risner could be a useful addition to the Bengals. Remember that they need to continue improving that offensive line. He also makes sense as an insurance option, especially as the Bengals are expected to make the playoffs again. Overall, Risner’s reliability and consistency on the field make him an attractive option for a team like Cincy, which is in need of offensive line depth.
3. CB Rock Ya-Sin
Rock Ya-Sin’s injury history is likely the reason he remains a free agent this far into the offseason. In the 2022-23 season, he was placed on injured reserve in Week 13 due to a knee injury. That came after missing Week 4 with a knee injury as well. This limited him to only 11 games played.
Despite his injury history, Ya-Sin’s skills and relatively young age should land him on a roster soon. The 27-year-old cornerback has dealt with injuries throughout his four-year career. However, he played 15 games in his rookie season with the Colts. He has also consistently demonstrated his ability to stick with receivers in man coverage.
Ya-Sin also had one of the highest man-coverage rates in the league last season at 68.6 percent. He allowed a passer rating of just 81.7 when targeted, which was the 21st-best among corners. Considering that cornerback is a position where depth is crucial, it’s hard to imagine Ya-Sin staying in the market for much longer. And maybe with Eli Apple likely not returning, the Bengals would do well to consider giving Ya-Sin a look.
The post 3 free agents Bengals must target after 2023 NFL Draft appeared first on ClutchPoints.