The 2023 NFL Draft is now only a few days away, with the first round beginning on Thursday and the rest of the selections running through Friday and Saturday. With the draft so close, speculations, predictions, and rumors only continue to intensify, with a lot still left to be determined on draft night, including where the Cincinnati Bengals will go with their first-round pick.
Bengals' Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin already stated they will be going BPA-- Best Player Available-- in this draft (something I've been hoping they'd do), however, that still leaves a lot in the air. Whose draft stock could fall? Are there any position-related exceptions? How will they quantify who is the best player still in the draft pool? It's still not clear who exactly the Bengals will take with their first-round pick, as it is entirely situational now.
Let's look at four positions the Bengals could draft with their No. 28th overall pick, and three more they should try to steer clear of in the first round. I will not include quarterback, as it's obvious that they should not and will not draft one in the first round.
With Joe Burrow under center, it'd probably be the biggest waste of a first-round pick to draft someone who'd likely be backing him up for years to come. Same thing with punter and kicker, those positions typically don't get drafted until Day 3 anyway, so it'd be redundant to include them.
Could Draft: Tackle
Although the front office did address tackle in free agency with the Orlando Brown Jr. signing, Jonah Williams' trade request, along with the gruesome injury La'el Collins suffered toward the end of the season, opens the door to the Bengals potentially taking a tackle in the first round, especially if guys like Oklahoma's Anton Harrison or Tennessee's Darnell Wright are still available.
Even if Williams doesn't get traded, he's on a contract year and it isn't likely he'll stick around for a new-- likely cheaper-- deal considering he requested a trade following the Orlando Brown Jr. signing, so it wouldn't be a bad idea to get a young guy to back him up this year and take over as starter following his departure. Not to mention, either one of those guys could potentially even beat him and Collins out for that starting Right Tackle role.
The front office has been making moves to better the O-Line, and guys like Cappa and Karras especially have been a step in the right direction, so I could see them taking one more step to try and solidify the trenches to protect their franchise QB as much as they possibly can.