4 Bengals whose stock rose after 2023 draft, 5 that dropped
After requesting a trade this past offseason when the Bengals acquired left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. in free agency, Williams’ future with the team is uncertain. Cincinnati’s front office refused to deal him out, and although Jacksonville reportedly was interested, the Bengals chose to keep Williams.
After missing his rookie season due to injury, Williams has been a solid starter, but inconsistent when it comes to penalties. To be fair, he was alone on an island during the majority of his career in Cincinnati, but he was also the ninth overall pick in 2019, and Zac Taylor wants more out of him.
Williams looks primed to be the right tackle in Week 1 until La’el Collins recovers from his injury. Collins played injured last season and was wildly inconsistent, so Williams could come in for Collins if needed.
Additionally, 2021 second-round pick Jackson Carman has reportedly lost weight and looks more poised to compete for the right tackle spot in camp with Jonah Williams. Carman is only 23, and with a wingspan more fit for tackle than Williams, he could give Jonah a run for his money.
It pains me to write this as Boyd has been arguably the most consistent player in Bengals history. He is a voice in the locker room and a ballhawk when targeted. In a receiver room where Chase and Higgins are looking for long-term contracts, the 28-year-old Tyler Boyd may be the odd man out.
Boyd would be a premier wide receiver 2 on the majority of teams, and with the Bengals spending a 2023 fourth-round pick on Boyd’s heir apparent in Charlie Jones, this might be the last season for the Chase, Higgins, and Boyd trio. Boyd’s job is not on the line this season, but if Jones shows enough promise, Boyd could be utilized to trade for draft capital and to lower the cap space.
The Bengals are looking to get cheaper across the board, and veterans such as Tyler Boyd and D.J. Reader might not get a contract extension, and will soon hit the free agency market. Cincinnati’s front office has been mostly quiet in free agency, but under-the-radar pickups such as Irv Smith Jr. could have a big impact this season if these players can stay healthy.
Look for the Bengals to continue to do small position group rebuilds every couple of years to keep the team fresh and cheap. This past two offseasons saw a retooling of the secondary, with the new faces of the defense getting poised to take a major step up this season.