Bengals add to their young secondary in Todd McShay's first 2023 mock draft

Leigh Oleszczak
2018 NFL Draft
2018 NFL Draft / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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If the NFL season ended right now, the Cincinnati Bengals would hold the No. 26 overall pick. Todd McShay has them continuing to add pieces to their secondary by linking them to cornerback Devon Witherspoon of Illinois in his first mock draft of the season.

McShay mentions that Witherspoon has allowed fewer than 10 yards in eight games in 2022. He also had three interceptions while allowing just two touchdowns, which is very impressive. McShay says if the Bengals don't go with Witherspoon or a cornerback in this spot, they could potentially reach on an offensive lineman.

Cornerback wouldn't be a bad choice for the Bengals here, as they're once again slated to lose Eli Apple in free agency and while he hasn't been terrible, an upgrade couldn't hurt. Chidobe Awuzie should hopefully return from injury next season but who knows if he'll be the same dominant player he was before the injury.

Bengals select Devon Witherspoon in Todd McShay's mock draft

Witherspoon, in the words of Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network, is "a mighty fine NFL draft prospect who can serve in a high-impact role". This is exactly the kind of player the Bengals could use for their young secondary as they look to take on the elite passing offenses the NFL is geared toward these days.

"Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon is an aggressive, physical cornerback with man coverage skills and ball production, making him a mighty fine NFL draft prospect who can serve in a high-impact role. Witherspoon is very combative at the catch point and is eager to transition into a tackler’s role, offering an NFL team a viable inside or outside option at the next level. "

Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network

With Apple hitting free agency again, Awuzie recovering from injury, and Cam Taylor-Britt slowly but surely figuring things out, Witherspoon would make a lot of sense for Cincinnati in the first round. They don't have a lot of weaknesses but their passing defense is probably one of them so this would be a solid selection for them.

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If Witherspoon were to pan out, the Bengals would have one of the youngest and most talented secondaries in the league. In this pass-happy NFL, that'd bode well for them over the next few years.

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