With the 2023 season quickly approaching, all eyes are on this Cincinnati Bengals unit. The team has built a roster full of elite young talent, headlined by one of the games top QB-WR duos in Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase. But alongside the foundational pieces of this unit, there are also young players that could be primed for a breakout.
On both sides of the ball, the Bengals have made a clear attempt to build a roster that is young, but with high upside. Along with these young players, they have also brought in proven veteran talent.
In turn, many of these younger options have had the chance to sit and learn behind these veterans. Now heading into a new season, they could be primed to take on a bigger role. If they are able to break out as many expect, this Bengals team could be even better.
Here are three breakout candidates for the Bengals in 2023.
With Joe Mixon heading into his seventh season in the NFL, the Bengals have begun constructing a backfield full of young talent. In the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, they elected to select Illinois running back Chase Brown, but they also have a potential RB1 candidate in third-year running back Chris Evans. If the Bengals choose to soon move on from Mixon, Evans could be the next man up.
Over his first two seasons in the NFL, Evans has shown potential in his few opportunities. During his rookie year in 2021, the former Michigan running back appeared in 14 games, including one start. In total, he carried the ball 17 times, recording 77 rush yards. Through the air, he hauled in 15 receptions for 151 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Evans didn't find the same success this past season out of the backfield. While dealing with a knee injury, and a limited role, he appeared in just 12 games. He finished the season recording three receptions for 38 receiving yards and one touchdown but did not record a rush attempt.
Heading into his third season, Evans will face competition in the running room. But with his ability to impact the receiving game, and now back at full strength, he could finally take the next step. Given that he can elevate his game, this backfield could make an even more significant impact in 2023.