Ranking the Bengals' top 5 options with No. 28 pick in 2023 NFL Draft
Emmanuel Forbes, CB (Missisippi State)
Nothing, I repeat nothing flips a game like a pick 6. A team may be ahead by two touchdowns and a pick 6 will flip that momentum quicker than any other play in football. Instincts for those types of plays are born, not taught. You can teach technique, position, and concepts, but, you can't teach playmaking.
The biggest playmakers such as the legendary Deion Sanders, the modern-day Jalen Ramsey and up and comer Sauce Gardner are invaluable not just for the ability to deny a pass, but, to turn it into six the other way.
Emmanuel Forbes is special because he has that gift.
"If there’s one thing you should know about Forbes, it’s that he’s going to get his hands on some footballs. He picked off 14 passes and broke up 17 more over three seasons as a starter for the Bulldogs. Six of those interceptions went back the other way for touchdowns! His performance improve by leaps and bounds every season, as he finished with a career-high 89.3 coverage grade this past fall."- Michael Renner, PFF
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Picking at 28, the Bengals need to be able to pick out the players that have that special something. Emmanuel Forbes has the playmaking ability to be a difference maker and that makes him a potential choice in the first round.
Darnell Wright, OT (Tennessee)
I know what you are saying. You are talking difference makers and you throw in a right tackle. Not nearly as sexy or controversial as a running back or a cornerback in the first round. Isn't this just the play-it-safe pick?
Right tackle can be an impact position. In the late 90s and early 2000's years of despair, the Bengals' glimmer of hope was their ability to shove it down people's throats in the run despite mostly abysmal quarterback play. That was due to Willie Anderson, arguably the best right tackle in Bengals history.
Not to prematurely compare him to the greats, but, Darnell Wright can make a huge impact on the right side. He has excellent pass protection production and is a road grader in the run game. Sounds alot like Big Willie to me.
""Wright started 2020 at right tackle and 2021 at left tackle, then shifted back over to right tackle in 2022," Spielberger wrote. He’s an above-average pass protector on either side with the ability to bulldoze defenders in the run game, which perhaps is more valuable on the right side. Wright allowed just six quarterback hurries and zero sacks in 2022.""- Russ Heltman
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Big and powerful can also mean being a big difference maker. Put Darnell Wright with Orlando Brown and watch the Bengals sport the most physical and imposing bookends in the NFL. That is why Darnell Wright would be an excellent pick at 28.