Nail the Draft
This is actually the culmination of the offseason. To make this a successful offseason the Bengals will need to get impact makers in this draft. Kansas City, in the lead-up to their Super Bowl victory, got more contributions from their draft class last year than any team in football. That is the secret to winning with an elite quarterback with a huge contract.
These are the "To-Do" list for the draft. How many of these the Bengals nail will be the cherry on top of their effective offseason?
Fill the Running Back Role
Without Joe Mixon (expected to be cut) and Samaje Perine, the Bengals will need to find their next bell cow. The Bengals type for a running back would include the following traits:
- Being able to compete physically in the AFC North against the brutal defenses of the Ravens, Steelers, and Browns. That would necessitate some size to take the pounding and move piles.
- Being an able pass catcher with the ability to break a run as a relief valve for Burrow, and most importantly the ability to pass block to keep Joey Franchise from getting pummeled by the freakish pass rushers in our division.
Luckily the draft is full of running backs in each round that can fill this role. The Bengals generally have looked to round two, but, with the depth in the class, they may be able to wait until later.
Some of the running backs that will be around on Day 2 or Day 3 include Zach Charbonnet (UCLA), Devin Achane (Texas A&M), Dewayne McBride (UAB), and Tank Bigsby (Auburn). For your viewing pleasure here are some jets from Devin Achane.
Depth and Talent for Defense
The Bengals defense is underrated and Lou Anarumo is back for a sequel. His "Mad Scientist" defense will need to carry on in future years without the ability to add alot of salary given the heavy offensive laden contracts that are expected to be handed out this offseason. In order to do that the Bengals need to add depth and when available impact.
Defensive line is a need of immediate concern. They need help for B.J. Hill who has not been as effective in 2022 given his high snap counts. Luckily there are options at all levels.
Of course, there is my draft crush, Calijah Kancey. If, on the probable chance, that the rest of the NFL realizes how good he can be he goes before the Bengals can get him, Cincinnati will have other options. Karl Brooks (Bowling Green) and Keeanu Benton (Wisconsin) are potentials that will be there after Day 1. Regardless, 3-technique depth is a must for 2023. Here is some pass-rush goodness from Karl Brooks.
Get a Tight End
With the signing of Irv Smith Jr., the Bengals have made a dent in their tight end need. Despite that, Smith has a history of injuries, and the depth in the position consists of Devin Asiasi and a whole bunch of people that have played less than him. It would also be nice to have someone that can stick around beyond one year as a tight end option.
The draft is loaded with them and the names are well known. Local favorite Michael Mayer, Darnell Washington, Dalton Kincaid are first round options, however, with the talent expected to be around for the Bengals, they would have to be blown away to address this in the first round. Beyond the first round there are some nice options.
Sam LaPorta (Iowa), Luke Musgrave (Oregon State), and Tucker Kraft (South Dakota State) are middle-round options. LaPorta would be a good option in the second or third round. Beyond that there are many other options including Josh Whyle from UC. Here are some sweet highlights from Sam LaPorta.
Find Impact Players
With the exception of quarterback and wide receiver, the Bengals could use a premium pick on impact players. Regardless of position or need if you see someone that is projecting to be a star player then grab them and don't look back.
Picking someone like Bijan Robinson, Emmanuel Forbes, or Calijah Kancey regardless of whether you need them or not will never go wrong. Super Bowl teams are made up of difference-makers. Collect them on rookie contracts and it is a recipe for long-term success.
Overall there are needs for depth and difference makers. Nailing these in the draft are the last piece of the puzzle for an offseason that puts the Bengals on the verge of their first championship. Hopefully we will look back on the history books and see that their offseason moves are the one that launched a dynasty for the Cincinnati Bengals.