Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports ranked every rookie class from the NFL this past season and the Cincinnati Bengals were in the bottom half, sitting at 19.
"Taylor-Britt and Volson played a lot as rookies on each side of the ball and were quality players. The Bengals could upgrade from Volson in 2023, yet they do know they have a quality swing blocker on the interior. The Bengals would've been higher if they got more from first-round pick Daxton Hill. "- Chris Trapasso
As Trapasso notes, Cam Taylor-Britt and Cordell Volson were considered "Year 1 Hits" and it's not hard to see why. Taylor-Britt, despite missing seven games during the regular season, went on to record a 79.6 overall PFF grade in the postseason and showed that he could be a starting cornerback in the NFL.
Volson had more ups and downs but won the starting left guard job fair and square over Jackson Carman. While Volson wasn't awful, Trapasso is right on the money by saying the Bengals could choose to upgrade from him.
Even with these two rookies playing well, the Bengals needed more from the entire class as a whole. They were in the bottom half here while teams like the Chiefs, Cowboys, Ravens, and 49ers made the playoffs with major help from their rookies.
Bengals' 2022 draft class was fine but we want to see more from them
The Chiefs, in particular, leaned on their rookies in a big way, especially during the playoffs. Trapasso said they had six players who qualified as "Year 1 Hits" with three of those players being cornerbacks who started in the Super Bowl.
When looking at the Bengals' drat class this past year, it was a fine group but they needed more from Dax Hill. Trapasso even mentioned that had Hill been more productive, this group would have been ranked higher.
Hill didn't get a ton of opportunities due to both Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell still being on the team and starting. With Bates likely as good as gone, there will be more opportunities for Hill to slide into a starting role in 2023.
Taylor-Britt is going to be a starter whether the team re-signs Eli Apple or not. He'll likely go down as the star from this draft class.
Zach Carter wasn't a star by any means but he was a nice depth piece who we'll hopefully get to see in bigger moments during the 2023 season.
Volson will probably have to fight for his job in the offseason. While I don't see the Bengals seeking out a left guard in free agency, if the best player available when they're picking in the draft happens to play left guard, so be it. Let the competition begin in that case.
Tycen Anderson didn't play at all after landing on IR in the summer so whatever we see from him will be an upgrade.
Jeff Gunter showed some glimpses of potential as a seventh-round pick but was banged up.
We didn't get to see a ton from this group but hopefully that changes in 2023.