While missing the NFL Playoffs isn’t a foregone conclusion quite yet, those odds took a drastic hit without QB1 on the field. Burrow will likely miss the rest of the season, and former UDFA Jake Browning will now take over after never starting a regular-season game.
With that in mind, let’s look ahead at what Cincinnati may do in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Bengals opted for the pass-rushing Myles Murphy last season, but he hasn’t panned out quite yet. Outside of quarterback, it feels like every position is on the table heading into next year’s draft, pending what happens in free agency.
That said, let’s dive into who recent NFL mock drafts have Cincinnati selecting.
CBS Sports — Pick No. 18 - Keon Coleman
Tee Higgins and Cincinnati will likely part ways after the season, which creates a need in that offense. Keon Coleman is a big-bodied receiver who can win jump balls down the field.
Sports Illustrated — Pick No. 18 - Rome Odunze
This would be a massive win for the Bengals, who could see their wide receiver depth gutted in free agency. If that happens, Cincinnati would love to land a blue-chip pass-catcher like Odunze, who is a top-10 overall prospect in this draft. He’d make an ideal WR1 on any NFL team, but in Cincy, he’d take over for Tee Higgins as Joe Burrow’s elite second weapon opposite Ja’Marr Chase.
Draft Wire — Pick No. 18 - OT JC Latham
The Bengals seem to always be on the hunt for more quality offensive linemen.
247 Sports— Pick No. 18 - OT JC Latham
The Bengals have turned to Tuscaloosa before for offensive tackle help, and should do so again. JC Latham is a Day 1 starter and will be the strongest guy on the offensive line the day he steps on the field. He’s an excellent piece who could play guard for a year if needed.
NBC Sports — No. 18 - OT Troy Fautanu
Most are projecting Fautanu to move from tackle to guard at the next level. It wouldn’t shock me if he follows a similar path as former Pac-12 offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, who has seen time all over the line.
He’s got a thick, athletic lower half and an anchor that brings pass rushers to a halt. I love his burst off the snap to drive block in the run game. It’s a broken record, but the Bengals once again need to upgrade their line in front of Joe Burrow.
Pro Football Network — No. 18 - Jer’Zhan Newton
The Cincinnati Bengals have struggled to defend the run this season and need a boost from the interior of their defense. With D.J. Reader a pending free agent, Jer’Zhan Newton could fill an immediate need and give them a dynamic defensive tackle reminiscent of Geno Atkins.
The 33rd Team — No. 18 - Jared Verse
It’s still hard to trust the Cincinnati Bengals’ pass rush in neutral game situations. Trey Hendrickson has been a really good player for the Bengals, but the depth behind him has been an issue for multiple years. Jared Verse’s three-down ability as a pass rusher and run defender helps bolster a Cincinnati defense that has played well for most of the 2023 season.