The Cincinnati Bengals fell short of their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance with a 23-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. However, the future is still beaming brightly in Queen City. The Bengals remain contenders with quarterback Joe Burrow at the helm. In fact, NFL odds lists Cincinnati as the fifth choice to win Super Bowl 58 (+850).
However, the roster is far from perfect. The Bengals have a healthy list of needs heading into the offseason, especially with several players due for free agency. The ultimate goal is taking down the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs. Cincy must have another excellent offseason to keep pace with Patrick Mahomes and Co. Check out what positions the Bengals could target in the 2023 NFL Draft.
2022 Season Record: 12-4
Status of Coach: Zac Taylor – Safe
Positions Needed by the Bengals
- Offensive line
- Tight end
Notable Draft Picks
- Round 1, Pick 28
- Round 2, Pick 60
Potential First-Round Targets
Despite several moves in the 2022 offseason, the Bengals’ offensive line is still not fixed. Both tackle spots were an issue at times. Right tackle La’el Collins dealt with inconsistencies while left tackle Jonah Williams struggled in pass protection with 13 allowed sacks. Cincinnati’s top priority of the offseason will be finding a new starting offensive tackle, on either side.
With the No. 28 overall selection, the Bengals should have several tackle options. Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison should be atop their wish list. At 6-foot-5, 309 pounds, Harrison has ideal size and length paired with good athleticism. He will need to put on more weight and strength for the next level, but Harrison has a high upside in pass protection thanks to his length and movement. The Oklahoma product should be a day-one starter at left tackle, protecting Burrow’s blindside.
Anton Harrison is an NFL LT playing college football.
— Matt Wilson (@CoachWilson66) February 14, 2023
If Harrison is off of the board, Darnell Wright (Tennessee) and Dawand Jones (Ohio State) are borderline first-rounders with intriguing potential. Wright has tremendous strength and great grip strength. If he gets his hands on you, it’s usually game over. The Tennessee product does lack some mobility and could need to lose some weight. Jones’ movement at 6-foot-8, 360 pounds says enough. He has unreal length and eye-popping strength. Like Wright, there’s concern about Jones’ mobility in the run game.
There’s an outside shot the Bengals target tight end with Hayden Hurst hitting free agency. Dalton Kincaid (Utah) would be the name to watch. His stock is rising thanks to elite pass-catching traits, including hands, route-running, and athleticism. However, Kincaid could be a poor to mediocre blocker at the next level.
Learn More About the AFC North Draft 2023
- Baltimore Ravens 2023 Positions Needed & First Round Draft Picks
- Cleveland Browns 2023 Positions Needed & First Round Draft Picks
- Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 Positions Needed & First Round Draft Picks
Potential Second-Round Targets
If Cincinnati selects an offensive lineman in the first round, tight end could be the next position addressed. The top two tight ends, Michael Mayer and Kincaid, will likely be off the board. Luke Musgrave of Oregon State and Darnell Washington of Georgia would be the next best options.
Musgrave’s athleticism at 6-foot-6 draws rave reviews. He has great upside as a pass catcher but will need to be developed. Washington would be an immediate impact in the run game with his bruising 6-foot-7, 265-pound frame. The Georgia product also flashed receiving upside with his soft hands in contested situations. Washington could be the best fit. Even if Hurst returns in free agency, Washington would fill the need for an excellent in-line blocker. Plus, he would have upside as a receiver, unlike current backup tight end Drew Sample.
The Bengals could be looking to replace starting defenders as well. Safeties Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell and linebacker Germaine Pratt are free agents. It’s unlikely that all three return. Even re-signing two of the three could prove to be challenging. Don’t be surprised if Cincy targets defense on the second day of the draft. Safeties J.L. Skinner (Boise State) and Sydney Brown (Illinois) and linebackers Jack Campbell (Iowa) and Noah Sewell (Oregon) are a few names to watch.
Cincinnati hopes to add more instant-impact rookies in the 2023 NFL Draft.