When the 2023 NFL Draft concluded, Shaka Heyward didn't hear his name called by any of the 32 teams. He went on to sign as a UDFA with the Cincinnati Bengals and it won't be an easy climb for him to make the 53-man roster.
Not only is Heyward already at a disadvantage due to going undrafted and not being as big of a name but the Bengals are honestly pretty set at linebacker already. The starters will be Germaine Pratt and Logan Wilson and if the Bengals keep five linebackers on the roster, the other three spots will go to Joe Bachie, Markus Bailey, and Akeem Davis-Gaither.
That means that Heyward has his work cut out for him but anything is possible.
What should Bengals fans expect from Shaka Heyward in 2023?
Bengals fans probably shouldn't expect Heyward to do much for the team this year. If he does stick with the team in 2023, it'd more than likely be as a practice squad member. The Bengals just have too much depth at linebacker for the undrafted Duke product to make much of an impression.
Injuries could obviously change this but even if Heyward gets to the active roster, he probably wouldn't be doing anything more than special teams work. If he's starting, something has likely gone very, very wrong.
Crazier things have happened though. We can never rule anything out but it doesn't feel as though Shaka Heyward will be contributing much for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2023.