It wasn't long ago when the Cincinnati Bengals had one of the worst linebacker corps in the league. That is no longer the case now, especially now that the team re-signed Germaine Pratt in the offseason, keeping him in the Queen City for at least three more years.
The Bengals will need to decide what they want to do with Logan Wilson, their other starting linebacker, long-term as early as this offseason. They can opt to extend Wilson but it might be difficult to considering they need to extend Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins as well.
Let's take a deep dive into the Bengals linebacker depth chart before we get to the 2023 NFL Draft.
Bengals starting linebackers: Germaine Pratt, Logan Wilson
As mentioned above, it'll be Pratt and Wilson starting at linebacker once again for the Bengals. Pratt was a third-round pick in 2019 and Wilson was a third-round pick in 2020 so the Bengals were smart to spend their third-rounders on linebackers.
Pratt and Wilson have mostly been able to stay healthy but both did miss two games a piece last season. Wilson finished the season with 123 tackles while Pratt came up one tackle shy of also going over the 100-tackle mark.
Even if the Bengals don't extend Wilson, he'll be under contract this upcoming season so both of these guys will be leading the way at linebacker in 2023 and that's awesome for this defense.
Bengals backup linebackers: Joe Bachie, Akeem Davis-Gaither
The Bengals snagged Joe Bachie ahead of the 2021 season and who would have thought that he'd go on to become the kind of player he's been for them. While Bachie has mostly been a special teams contributor during his two years in Cincinnati, when he's been called on to play defense, he's looked pretty good. He had 30 tackles in the 2021 season and 10 last season.
Akeem Davis-Gaither was a fourth-round pick in 2020 and has thrived as a depth piece. While fans wouldn't have been mad if he had slid into Pratt's old starting job this season, Pratt returning and Davis-Gaither serving as a backup is 100% the preferred option.
The Rest: Markus Bailey, Keandre Jones
The Bengals don't need to spend an early-round pick on a linebacker because they have pretty good depth pieces on the roster. Bailey was a seventh-round pick by the team in 2020 and was the third linebacker that they took in that year's draft. Bailey has predominantly played special teams during his time in Cincinnati but he's done well in that role.
As for Jones, he only played in one game in 2022 after spending the season on the practice squad. He's a former undrafted prospect out of Maryland but spent time at Ohio State before transferring.