Draft season never ends. No sooner was this year’s event in the books, than media analysts were predicting how the Cincinnati Bengals would attack the first round in their way-too-early mock drafts.
The Bengals bolstered their defense substantially with five new players selected on that side of the ball. Even so, with contract wrangling and expiring deals, there will be plenty of turnover on the roster a year from now.
Finding rookies who can excel from Day 1 on cheaper contracts will be a necessity with bumper contracts expected for Joe Burrow and his receiving corps in the near future. The next few first-round picks will be pivotal if the Bengals wish to remain relevant in the AFC North.
With that in mind, here is a look at five players who have been earmarked as potential fits come the opening day of the 2023 NFL Draft. They are ranked in order of what we believe to be the best fit.
All stats courtesy of ESPN.com.
All grades courtesy of PFF.
5. Jordan Addison, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh
Selected by: Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports
Jordan Addison has been the talk of college football this offseason. Last year’s Biletnikoff Award winner, given to the country’s top receiver, announced his intention to transfer away from Pittsburgh. He became the highest-profile player on the open market.
After some shopping around, the initial rumors of a move to USC proved to be right. Meaning Addison will team up with esteemed play-caller and new Head Coach Lincoln Riley, and perhaps more importantly, the talented quarterback Caleb Williams.
It will be difficult for Addison to improve on his numbers from last year. Kenny Pickett’s premier target notched 1649 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns, at an impressive 15.9 yards per reception.
Addison is a smooth route runner and displays excellent speed to beat teams deep. The biggest drawback will be his size. Addison is a lean 6’0″, 175 pounds and has a wiry frame that may need bulking up to survive the rigors of the NFL.
Receiver will be an important position to watch closely for Bengals fans. Tee Higgins will be angling for a mega-deal next offseason, while slot option Tyler Boyd will be in the final year of his contract in 2023. Addison’s experience in the slot and on the outside means he could be considered a long-term replacement for either of those players.