Sunday, April 30, 2023

Cincinnati Bengals 2023 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2023 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the Cincinnati Bengals? What are they saying about the Bengals' 2023 draft haul?

MORE: 2023 NFL Strength of Schedule - Grade: A-

The Bengals patiently waited for three potential early starters on defense to fall into their laps. Murphy brings power and flashes of quickness off the edge, Turner's speed and aggressiveness were worthy of a late second-round pick and Battle's a solid all-around safety.

A quick, reliable slot receiver and kick returner, Jones turned his transfer from Iowa to Purdue into a fourth-round draft slot. Iosivas has the potential to be a deep threat. Brown's toughness inside and vision to bust through a crease met the team's need for running back depth. They did not select a tight end but decided to pick the most consistent punter in the draft in Robbins.

ESPN - Grade: B+

I was a little surprised by the Bengals' choice to take edge rusher Myles Murphy (28) in Round 1, if only because there were solid tight ends, safeties and cornerbacks available. Credit to them for not reaching for a direct need, though, as a team can never have too many pass-rushers. Murphy likely will slot in as a rotational player behind Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard as a rookie, but Murphy is going to make an impact. I like his chances to be a starter in 2024 and beyond.

Cincinnati filled needs on Day 2. You're going to hear about the speed of Michigan cornerback DJ Turner (60) -- he ran a 4.26-second 40-yard dash at the combine -- but he had good tape last season too. He isn't just a burner. And now he'll get to play with former college teammate Dax Hill in this secondary. Safety Jordan Battle (95) is extremely versatile; he started three years for Nick Saban's defense, so you know he has been well-coached. Wide receiver Charlie Jones (131) and running back Chase Brown (163) were nice values on my board. Joe Mixon had a down 2022 season, and I could see Brown getting some carries as a rookie. Andrei Iosivas (206) is a raw wideout from the Ivy League with sprinter's speed in a 6-foot-3 frame. This is a dart throw, but it's the kind of Round 7 pick I can get behind.

The Bengals did a solid job filling their needs, though I'm not going to give them an A because they didn't take a tight end in one of the deepest tight end classes over the past 20 years. That's a miss. Overall, if Murphy develops into an every-down player, we could be looking at an A class in a few years.

SI - Grade: B

The Bengals prioritized defense in the first two days of the draft. Cincinnati got a steal in Murphy, who will pair with Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson to give coordinator Lou Anarumo a terrific trio off the edge. In Day 2, the Bengals added high-upside depth in the secondary, with Battle having a chance to start as a rookie alongside last year's first-round pick in Dax Hill. On Saturday, the Bengals took a chance on Jones, who broke out with Purdue after spending time with Buffalo and Iowa before transferring a second time. In 2022, he amassed 110 catches, 1,361 yards and 12 touchdowns.

PFF - Grade: A

Day 1: Murphy looked like a future top-five pick after a freshman season that saw him produce an 85.2 PFF grade, but we never really saw him progress beyond that. However, he has produced a PFF grade of at least 79.0 in each of the past three seasons and racked up 76 pressures over the past two years.

Day 2: Turner can flat-out fly, clocking a 4.26-second 40-yard dash at the scouting combine in Indianapolis. He did get picked on a little at Michigan, and there's still a fair amount of development needed, but he allowed just 46.5% of the passes thrown into his coverage to be caught in 2022 and forced 14 incompletions in the process.

The Bengals lost both starting safeties in free agency, so Battle could be a long-term replacement for Vonn Bell. He was one of the most consistent defensive backs in college football, earning 80.0-plus PFF grades in each of the past three seasons while playing more than 800 snaps in each.

Day 3: If the Bengals are looking to find a long-term replacement for Tyler Boyd in the slot, Jones could be just what they are looking for. He dropped just 2.7% of the catchable passes thrown his way in 2022 and averaged 2.70 yards per route run over the season.

Brown was a workhorse at Illinois with big-play speed, as his 83 forced missed tackles are second in the class behind Bijan Robinson. He's not a great receiver and, at times, has fumbling issues. Brown profiles as a useful RB2, which is exactly what the Bengals will be looking for after losing Samaje Perine in free agency.

Ivey carried a career-high 76.2 coverage grade across from Tyrique Stevenson at Miami, but only had six combined interceptions and pass breakups all year.

Fox Sports - Grade: B

Here's to simplicity: no trades — as usual for the Bengals — with just a pick each round, hitting on key needs. Myles Murphy at 28 shows off the depth of the edge prospects in this draft, and third-day picks like receiver Charlie Jones and running back Chase Brown were super-productive in the Big Ten. Princeton's Andrei Iosavis' athletic measurables are off the charts as well.

USA Today - Grade: B

Seems like your typical Cincy draft, pretty much right down the fairway while addressing present needs and anticipating future ones. The first three selections were devoted to a 16th-ranked defense with a secondary currently in transition. But first-round DE Myles Murphy and third-round S Jordan Battle should get on the field early, while second-round slot CB DJ Turner II is a plus athlete — if a project who will get developmental time. Fifth-round RB Chase Brown, a second-team All-Big Ten pick last year after racking up nearly 1,900 yards from scrimmage, could push Joe Mixon.

The Ringer - Grade: B+

The Bengals had a quietly solid draft after focusing heavily on defense in the early rounds. They nabbed a long, super-athletic edge rusher in the first round in Clemson's Myles Murphy, who should factor into the team's pass-rush rotation alongside Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubard, and Joseph Ossai right away. Cincy bolstered their secondary by grabbing a feisty and versatile cover corner in Michigan's DJ Turner, and later picked a tone-setting safety in Alabama's Jordan Battle—a duo that should augment a defensive backfield already headlined by Dax Hill, Cam Taylor-Britt, Mike Hilton, and Chidobe Awuzie. I think a couple of Cincinnati's day-three picks could play roles early on, with Purdue receiver Charlie Jones bringing slot receiver skills and Illinois running back Chase Brown bringing a physical style on the ground.

Sporting News - Grade: A

The Bengals "let the draft come to them" for Duke Tobin and his scouting staff. It was only a mild surprise they want defense-first to help Lou Anarumo, but Murphy was a great first-round value to further their pass rush. Turner and Battle also can have key coverage roles right away, given some free-agent departures. Jones, a possession-based slot, as well as Iosivas, is thinking ahead to losing Tyler Boyd in 2024, while Brown gives them a nice option to pivot away from Joe Mixon soon.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: B+

The Bengals clearly want to be more explosive all over the field in 2023, and their opponents would generally say that they were explosive enough. Turner and Iosivas are especially freaky athletes, and in both cases (especially Turner's), that shows up on tape right away. Turner might have been a first-round pick in a narrower cornerback class, and he projects as a Day 1 starter with ridiculous range. Myles Murphy may seem a weird first-round pick to some, but there isn't a lot of depth under Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard, and Murphy can win from just about every gap.

Battle is a versatile safety who had a bit of a down 2022 season, but his 2021 tape was pretty nice. Charlie Jones is an excellent slot receiver who can do cool things when the Bengals decide to go Air Raid, and Brown is a proven, productive back who should fit in right away in the running back rotation. Beyond positional needs, the Bengals obviously wanted to get faster and tough to deal with, and they took care of that with authority.

More: 2023 NFL Draft Grade Roundups

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