Positions the Bengals Should Target in the Middle Rounds

Positions the Bengals Should Target in the Middle Rounds

2023 NFL Draft

Positions the Bengals Should Target in the Middle Rounds


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Draft the best player available. That’s the beautiful position the Cincinnati Bengals have found themselves as we are officially less than a week away from the 2023 NFL Draft. While it is, of course, unknown how the board will fall for the Bengals at 28, it is a bit easier to predict which positions and players the team could be targeting in the middle rounds. 

Rounds Two and Three – Tight End and Offensive Tackle

When looking at the draft, the depth of the 2023 class lines up perfectly with the needs of the Bengals. With Round One looking to be the best player available, Cincinnati can use the second and third round to fill needs and round out depth. Two of the biggest needs that probably won’t meet value in the first round are tight end and offensive tackle. 

With Kincaid and Mayer and the big four offensive linemen likely off the board by 28, the Bengals could use pick 60 and 92 to target those two positions. 

Key tight ends who may be available at 60 and meet the Bengals size and testing thresholds at the position are Tucker Kraft, Luke Musgrave, and Darnell Washington. Musgrave and Washington have had their stock fluctuate over the past several weeks, and its difficult to see if one or either player makes it. ESPN’s Draft Predictor gives Washington a 20% chance of making it to pick 60 while Musgrave has over a 30% chance. Kraft has an 80% chance per ESPN, and could be the target of a possible trade back from 60 or a trade up from 92, neither of which should be out of the question. 

In the third round, possible targets include Brenton Strange, who is a bit smaller than the Bengals average threshold, and Zack Kuntz who tested with a 10.00 Relative Athletic Score. Kuntz makes a ton of sense as a developmental prospect, especially if the Bengals draft a more refined tight end like Mayer or Kincaid in the first round. 

The offensive tackle position is a bit thinner in the second and third round than tight end. Dawand Jones, who was once thought as a target at pick 28, is the talk of the town for possibly being available at pick 60. ESPN projects a nearly 75% chance the big man from Ohio State falls to 60, which would be almost a no-brainer for Duke Tobin and company. One other possible second round target is Syracuse’s Matthew Bergeron. Bergeron’s arm length is just below the Bengals average threshold, but he meets all other averages and standards relative to the Bengals selections over the past 20 years.

Tackles in the third round tend to fall into swing tackle territory, but occasionally teams hit on developmental prospects. Guys like Blake Freeland, Tyler Steen, and Jaelyn Duncan would make a ton of sense if the Bengals wanted to add depth or find a replacement after a potential Jonah Williams trade. 


Rounds Four and Five – Running Back and Wide Receiver 

It’s no secret the Bengals have been doing their homework on the majority of the running backs available in this class, but they have also been researching some late-round receivers. With the smoke of Joe Mixon’s possible pay cut or release and the team potentially looking for Tyler Boyd’s replacement, taking a flier on a mid-round offensive weapon makes sense. 

The running back class tends to vary drastically behind Bijan Robinson, so it is hard to predict exactly where these backs could go. But targets like Kendre Miller, Devon Achane, Tyjae Spears, and Israel Abanikanda could fall to the fourth round or further. 

The wide receiver market is a bit clearer with the Bengals looking for possible returners. Charlie Jones, Tank Dell, Xavier Hutchinson, Trey Palmer, Puka Nacua, and Bryce Ford-Wheaton would all make sense with the 131st pick or 163. 

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