Running Back: Joe Mixon (4.03)
After a stellar 2021 season that saw Mixon go for the third-most rushing yards and the fourth-most touchdowns, the Bengals running back took a down year in 2022. He missed time and was not productive when called upon. Mixon’s 815 yards and seven touchdowns this past year were below average, meaning he could fall in the draft.
He is currently listed as the 20th running back selected. While the early fourth-round billing is a little too rich for my blood, I would absolutely select him in the early fifth if he slides far enough. Drafting an elite running back early in the first, loading up on wide receivers in the second, third, and fourth rounds, before circling back to Mixon in the fifth (if he falls) would be an ideal move.
I would not recommend taking Mixon at or before his current ADP, but he could be a more than competent number-two running back if he stays healthy and is consistent enough.
Tight End: Irv Smith Jr. (Undrafted)
The free agent acquisition is known for his injury history when called upon. The Bengals signed him after consecutive seasons that saw C.J. Uzomah and Hayden Hurst breaking out before signing lucrative contracts elsewhere.
While his target share is unknown, Smith Jr. is on a one-year prove-it deal that will light a fire underneath him. If your tight end goes down, this Bengals tight end could be considered a player to sign on your bench as a depth piece.
There are too many unknowns with his injury history and target share to give him a roster spot early. I would recommend monitoring camp talks and Swervin’ Irv’s play early in the season to see if he is deserving of a spot.
I hope he gets a shot this year, but you also have to consider that he is most likely one of the last reads on the field. With all that being said, Smith Jr. will have a few games where he goes for 50 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully, you can hit on those games when you are thin in the tight end department.