It has, to this point, been relatively quiet in the jungle this off-season. But now, let’s focus on the Cincinnati Bengals mock draft board. Compared to their in-state rivals, the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati only has seven selections in the 2023 draft, one in each round. Of course, the mock draft simulator at Pro Football Network’s website will be helping me with selections here. Following a 12-4 season and making a run to the AFC Championship Game, there have been some important shakeups. Of course, the big news was the loss of safety Jessie Bates in free agency to the Atlanta Falcons. However, they did retain a key linebacker in Germaine Pratt and also signed tight end Irv Smith Jr. Enough chit-chat, now, though, let’s get to drafting. Here’s a look at who I think the Bengals will draft.
Cincinnati Bengals Mock Draft: 2023 Edition
Round 1 (Pick No. 28) – Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
One of the premier tight end prospects of the 2023 class is Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer. At 6-foot-4 and almost 250 pounds, Mayer has a noteworthy frame that will make him a popular target. He also works well in run blocking scenarios, which will help in the Bengals’ backfield. The only question marks he has are steady athleticism and the ability to create yards after catch. If he can develop more strength to bounce off more defenders, he will be a tough tight end match-up to deal with.
Round 2 (Pick No. 60) – Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State
With a 6-4, 255-pound frame, Felix Anudike-Uzomah has the look of a linebacker with the size of a defensive end. He’s quick, agile, athletic, and physical to hold his own both on the bull rush and in run-stopping situations. He’s quick off the ball and can accelerate to create some major havoc in passing down situations. If he continues to work at developing more discipline on situational approach, he can become a day 2 steal of the draft.
Round 3 (Pick No. 92) – Jammie Robinson, S, Florida State
Not exactly the biggest secondary prospect in this year’s draft (only 5-11, 194), but Jammie Robinson plays a very physical game at the safety position. He’s a major gamer with a high motor, explosiveness, and great play recognition. In a way, Robinson almost reminds me of the aforementioned departed Bates. He needs to continue to work on his ball recognition skills and make himself a better speed coverage safety. If he can do that, he can turn into a surprisingly good day 2 selection.
Round 4 (Pick No. 131) – Emil Ekiyor Jr., G, Alabama
Despite being a shorter o-lineman (6-foot-2), Emil Ekiyor’s 320-pound build allows him to cover ground immediately from the snap. He can get great leverage and solidify himself as an interior anchor, as shown with his two solid years as the starting right guard at Alabama. He does, however, need to work on his lateral movement in pass protection. He’ll be a priority round 4 selection to partner with Alex Cappa and a solid Bengals o-line.
Round 5 (Pick No. 163) – Mekhi Garner, CB, Louisiana State
Garner is a rather unique prospect in this year’s class. At 6-2, 210, he’s one of the bigger cornerbacks on the board in 2023. His size and length makes a versatile secondary guy. Not only can he roll at cornerback, but he can also float over to safety. He has solid strength and can take on any run blocking assignment. If he can continue to develop speed, he can become a surprise success story for a day 3 corner.
Round 6 (Pick No. 206) – Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State
With the future of Joe Mixon up in the air, there are questions surrounding the running back position in Cincinnati. Insert one of the smallest players in this year’s class. 5-foot-6 tall, 176-pound running back Deuce Vaughn out of Kansas State. His frame and play style is similar to that of a younger Darren Sproles. He runs with lots of energy, and he’s a top-flight receiving back. But, he is an outlier with his small frame and lack of width. If he can add some muscle, he can turn into a surprise steal in the sixth round.
Round 7 (Pick No. 246) – Josh Whyle, TE, Cincinnati
To close out the draft, Cincinnati grabs a hometown kid. Josh Whyle lives in Cincy and played for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. With a 6-6, 248-pound frame, Whyle can run and jump catch with the best of them. He’s able to get separation quickly, and knows when to go up for a high-point ball. He will have to develop his run blocking leverage skills and catching in traffic to become a better tight end.
And with that, the mock draft is done for the Cincinnati Bengals. They are ready to retool and look to make another deep run in 2023. For more of BSP’s mock drafts, check out my most recent on the Browns here. Or, if you want to find out about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Stuart Otto has you covered here. We’re now only a week away from the NFL Draft. And the excitement is continuing to build.
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