The Cincinnati Bengals had a complete draft that they hit on a multitude of positional needs. From Defensive line to punter. However, what roles could each draft pick play in year one? This team is one that retained a lot of the players they have had the last two seasons in the Super Bowl and AFC Championship runs.
Now the question remains if these newcomers can be productive pieces to a team with Super Bowl visions. Here is the projected role for every Bengals draft selection.
Bengals Round 1: Pick 28 - DE, Myles Murphy
Role: Rotational pass rusher on defensive line
Myles Murphy will play a very important role on the defense right out of the gate but he will not be an every-down type of player just yet. The Bengals still have Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard, B.J. Hill, DJ Reader, and Joseph Ossai who are all very notable names on the defensive front. Not to mention Zach Carter and Cameron Sample.
However, Lou Anarumo loves to run different sets and schemes throughout a game and for specific matchups. If that is loading up with pass rushers, run stoppers, or a mix of both. So I do think Murphy will still find a very key role in the defense early on out of the gate.
Bengals Round 2: Pick 60 - CB, DJ Turner
Role: Backup cornerback
DJ Turner former teammate with Daxton Hill at Michigan, was a very good selection by the Bengals in the 2nd round with plenty of value. Although, he won't be a starter to kick off the season. Cincinnati will more than likely run with Britt and Awuzie as the two outside corners, and then Mike Hilton will play in the slot.
Nonetheless, the Bengals love to add depth and add players that can be future starters. The goal for Turner is to play as a starter. Whether that is the mid-season of this year due to an injury or poor play from a starter, or two years down the line when Awuzie and Hilton hit the market again.
Bengals Round 3: Pick 92 - S, Jordan Battle
Role: Backup/rotational starter with Daxton Hill and Nick Scott
This is going to be a very interesting position to keep an eye on for the Bengals. The expectation is that Dax Hill will be a no-brainer starter and Nick Scott will see more runs to start the season at strong safety. More so than Battle, but there is a very good chance we see more Jordan Battle this year than we do DJ Turner and maybe even Myles Murphy.
The key reason is that safety is probably the Bengals' weakest or most unproven position on the roster. Battle got a lot of experience in college playing at Alabama and is an NFL-ready safety. The upside for what he can become might not be through the roof, but it would not shock me to see him slowly share or steal time from Nick Scott as the season develops. The performance will be the ultimate factor at the end of the day.
Bengals Round 4: Pick 131 - WR, Charlie Jones
Role: No. 4 or No. 5 WR and punt returner
Bengals fans should absolutely love this pick. Charlie Jones is a pure playmaker and Cincinnati is in need of that as a punt returner. Jones will have to still compete with Trent Taylor for the spot but I do believe Jones will win that spot.
Now as a wide receiver in the offense, he could see similar roles to what Trenton Irwin did as the season rolled along last year. Jones will see time in the slot and we could see him in some other roles. Obviously, most of the targets will still be Chase, Boyd, and Higgins. But Jones and Irwin could sneak into this offense and play some significant roles.
Bengals Round 5: Pick 163 - RB, Chase Brown
Role: Backup RB to Joe Mixon
With Samaje Perine leaving, a door opens up for who will take the RB 2 role and Chase Brown is the best fit and transition into that. Brown is a hard-nosed, downhill runner, who can pick up yardage at a high level with his strength and agility.
Now, he will have to compete with Trayveon Williams and Chris Evans for that spot but Evans is utilized a little bit differently which is why Brown has the upper hand to take over that similar Perine role.
Bengals Round 6: Pick 206 - WR, Andrei Losivas
Role: WR 6 or practice squad
Andrei Losivas coming out of Princeton is a very intriguing story and it was well deserved. The issue now resides with what can he bring to the Cincinnati Bengals WR room that is debatably the best in the entire league. Now, Cincinnati could be preparing for a future without a guy like Boyd or Higgins which is a worst-case scenario for Bengals fans but that could be the reason for drafting two wideouts in this draft.
But for now, Losivas will more than likely wind up on the practice squad unless he can bring something unprecedented to special teams. Cincinnati has too many wide receivers that will be on the active roster. Chase, Higgins, Boyd, Irwin, Jones, and Morgan Jr are all pretty clear roster options and that isn't even mentioning Trent Taylor. The odds of Cincinnati even carrying seven is unlikely.
Bengals Round 6: Pick 217 - P, Brad Robbins
Role: Starting punter
It will be Brad Robbins vs Drue Chrisman for the starting punter job and when you spend a draft pick on a punter, you usually believe heavily in that player. Robbins didn't have a single touchback last season for Michigan.
Think about that for a minute. Now, Michigan was often winning big so they weren't punting multiple times a game but Robbins was easily one of the best punters in college football last season. I would expect Robbins to have more capabilities than Chrisman but he will have to prove that in training camp and pre-season on an NFL level.
Bengals Round 7: Pick 247 - CB, D.J. Ivey
Role: Practice squad
D.J. Ivey could eventually see a role in the Bengals secondary but for the time being, cornerback is one of the deepest positions on the Bengals' roster. Especially, after adding D.J. Turner with their second-round selection.
Cincinnati currently has Britt, Awuzie, Hilton, Davis, Jones, and Turner who are all expected roster holders. Then you have guys like Allan George who will compete for a roster spot just like he did last season. This leaves Ivey in the same spot. He will have to earn a roster spot and it could take some time being a 7th-Round pick but the talent is there to be a pro-level cornerback when the opportunity does present itself.