3 Bengals looking to prove they belong as starters in 2024

  • Tanner Hudson can be a reliable TE if given the chance
  • Jordan Battle is going to be a menance in the secondary
  • Trenton Irwin has stepped up when called upon

Cincinnati Bengals v Jacksonville Jaguars
Cincinnati Bengals v Jacksonville Jaguars / Courtney Culbreath/GettyImages
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Jordan Battle

After over half a season highlighted by struggles for former Ram Nick Scott, having been brought on to serve as a veteran presence for a young safety room that just lost its two former starters, he was eventually benched in favor of third-round pick from Alabama, Jordan Battle. This selection felt like a steal at the time and, while Battle has had rough moments here and there as any rookie does, he has proven that claim.

Battle is good in run support, a surefire tackler (67 tackles with only one missed tackle in six starts according to Pro Football Reference), and he's a great blitzing personnel. His biggest weakness is in coverage, as he allowed a 132.6 passer rating when targeted, however, no rookie is ever perfect coming into the league. Even then, he has shown flashes against the passing attack, recording three passes defended in his rookie season.

If he continues to put the work in and improves his skills in coverage, he has a good chance at starting, especially with how thin the safety room is and just how disappointing of a signing Nick Scott turned out to be, arguably even more so than Irv Smith Jr. was. While calling him the next Jessie Bates III would be a reach, he is a good step to replacing the Wake Forest product.