The Cincinnati Bengals hold the 28th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and have seven picks overall. They've put themselves in a position where they can hopefully go with the best player available in each round but there are still needs to fill.
For this mock draft, I used PFF's mock draft simulator, which is cool because it grades every pick that you make and also gives your entire draft a grade. I'll reveal those grades with each pick and will reveal the overall grade at the end.
Let's get to it!
Round 1: Pick 28 - Michael Mayer, TE (Notre Dame)
"Expectations for Mayer are exactly what you’d expect for a tight end discussed as a potential top half of the first round player at the position: he’s going to win both as a blocker and as a receiver and should quickly become a trusted target for his quarterback. Mayer should be a staple on the roster across multiple contracts for the team that drafts him. "- Kyle Crabbs
Even with the signing of Irv Smith Jr., the Bengals shouldn't be content with their tight end depth chart. If Smith were to go down at any point during the 2023 season (which we can't rule out given his injury history), the team wouldn't have a viable option to fill in for him.
That's why, despite the addition of Smith, I went with a tight end in the first round. Michael Mayer has been a popular prospect for Bengals fans because he went to high school not too far from Cincinnati. He'd be an amazing addition to this offense because, as Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network notes in the blurb above, he's solid as both a blocker and receiver.
It's hard for rookie tight ends to make their mark on the league but I wouldn't be shocked if Mayer sheds that label. This dude could be the perfect fit for the Cincinnati Bengals offense.
PFF Grade: B+