The Cincinnati Bengals have a lot of needs to address in the 2023 NFL Draft and they'll obviously look to do so with their first three picks. They haven't done a great job of drafting in recent years and it's now as important as ever for them to make sure they hit a grand slam with these picks.
I did a mock draft on NFL Mock Draft Database and it was my first time using this simulator. I liked it because they graded all of my picks and also offered suggestions as to who I should take when I was on the clock.
Round 1: Pick 16 - Myles Murphy, EDGE (Clemson)
"Murphy offers a prototypical build to play as a 4-3 end but Clemson did charge him with some zone drops, both dropping to the flats and dropping into a shallow spy. He’s more than capable of executing these reps with more regularity but you’d be doing so at the expense of keeping him in your rush arsenal. "- Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network
This would be a massive steal for the Bengals if Murphy fell to the middle of the first round. The Draft Network has him currently ranked in their top 10 prospects and he'd be the pass-rushing presence that the Bengals need to add to their defense.
Murphy has six sacks as of this writing and would be an excellent addition to the Cincinnati defense. Trey Hendrickson, B.J. Hill, and Sam Hubbard give the Bengals a fantastic trio of pass-rushers but it hasn't translated to sacks. Adding Murphy would hopefully buck that trend.
Round 2: Pick 49 - Anton Harrison, OT (Oklahoma)
"Anton Harrison has the physical profile of an appealing NFL offensive tackle prospect. He features a long and athletic build with good arm length. Harrison is thick in his lower half and he’s far from maxed out. He has the athleticism needed to mirror rushers and handle speed off the edge while offering plenty of range as a run blocker. "- Joe Marino, The Draft Network
One thing has become this clear and it's that Jonah Williams is no longer the answer at left tackle. He struggled mightily against the Browns last week and has given up the most sacks in the entire league with eight. That's just not a left tackle the Bengals can continue to throw out there to protect Joe Burrow's blindside.
That's where Harrison could make sense for the team in the second round. He's a starting left tackle for the Sooners, which is a role he's held since 2021, giving him two years of valuable experience. Williams is under contract in 2023 but the Bengals still shouldn't hesitate to select Harrison if he's still on the board in the second round.
Round 3: Pick 80 - Tucker Kraft, TE (South Dakota State)
"In the passing game, he shows good athleticism to get open and is good with the ball in his hands, displaying competitiveness and power to break tackles. He has the speed to uncover at all three levels and shows a good ability to track and locate the football. "- Brentley Weissman, The Draft Network
Hayden Hurst and Drew Sample are both slated to be free agents this offseason so it'd make sense for Cincinnati to target a tight end in the draft. If they do, Kraft is someone who could fit in well with them.
As of this writing, Kraft has 119 yards and two touchdowns through three games and has averaged 13.2 yards per catch, according to the South Dakota State athletics website.
In 2021, Kraft finished with 773 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games while averaging 51.5 receiving yards per game. He's clearly shown that he can be a threat in the right offense and Joe Burrow would love having this guy to throw to.
Ideally, the Bengals re-sign Hurst but I'd also still be on board with them drafting a tight end even if he does return to the Queen City.
What are your thoughts on this mock draft?