The Cincinnati Bengals have lost both of their starting safeties to free agency. Free safety Jessie Bates III has signed a massive contract with the Atlanta Falcons, and strong safety Vonn Bell signed with the Carolina Panthers.
According to Over the Cap, the Bengals will receive a third-round pick for Bates and a fifth-round pick for Bell, both compensatory. That is if they aren’t active in free agency this offseason.
The Bengals haven’t had many compensatory picks in the last couple of drafts because they have been so active in free agency, bringing players like Bell, D.J. Reader, almost the entire offensive line, Chidobe Awuzie, Mike Hilton, and others.
If a team offsets players they lose in free agency by signing outside players, their compensatory picks are voided, and considering how many free agents they have signed over the last couple of seasons they have mostly just had their normal draft picks.
Saying this, if the Bengals sign players who were cut recently, they won’t count against compensatory picks.
As of right now, the Bengals are likely penciling in 2022 first-round pick Daxton Hill at free safety, but it’s unclear as to who could play strong safety if the season started today. It’s possible that feel second-year player Tycen Anderson, who was selected in the fifth round out of the University of Toledo, though he missed out on his rookie season due to a hamstring injury suffered in September.
Anderson is a bigger defensive back, standing at 6’2” and weighing in at 210 lbs. He ran an impressive 4.36 at the combine last year and, according to Lance Zierlein’s scouting report, “he’s a determined run supporter who plays with adequate block take-on and play strength near the line of scrimmage. He’s a rangy, long tackler with the ability to short-circuit outside runners.”
Zierleins goes on to say that Anderson has the potential to be good in coverage, but coming into his rookie season, he hadn’t quite developed the ball skills needed to handle “additional coverage duties.”
If the Bengals decide to roll with Hill and Anderson in 2023, they’ll be awarded the extra two picks in the 2024 NFL Draft. However, they could lose those two picks if they sign free agents in the coming days and even weeks.
Free agency officially opens on Wednesday, March 15 at noon ET.