The Cincinnati Bengals drafted defense heavy in last season's draft. They now hold the 28th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and have put themselves in a good position to go with the best player available.
Tight end, offensive line, and defensive line have been the main focal point over the last few weeks of draft conversations.
However, ESPN’s Mike Tannebaum has something else in mind for Cincinnati in his latest mock draft.
The Bengals’ pass defense has grown substantially throughout the Zac Taylor era with guys like Mike Hilton, Chidobe Awuzie, and Cam Taylor-Britt.
Unfortunately, Cincinnati lost their safety duo of Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell, while cornerbacks Eli Apple and Tre Flowers are still free agents.
If there is one thing we have learned, depth at the corner position is vital and is an absolute must for teams attempting to make a Super Bowl run.
Enter Tannenbaum’s selection for the Bengals in his most recent mock draft: Emmanuel Forbes.
The Bengals had a solid pass defense last season — they were second in opponent QBR at 46.8 — but safety Jessie Bates III signed in Atlanta and cornerback Eli Apple is a free agent. Depth at corner could help keep the Cincinnati pass defense a strength, and Forbes is a great value pick. He is slender at 6-1 and 166 pounds, but check out his on-the-ball production. Forbes had 14 career interceptions, including six that were returned for a touchdown. He can be a Day 1 starter for the Bengals.
Forbes stands at 6-foot-1 and played college football at Mississippi State University. He tallied 14 career interceptions, six of those being pick-sixes, which is an FBS record. The star corner also set a school and Armed Forces Bowl record with a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The junior racked up 46 tackles, ten pass breakups, and six interceptions (three pick-sixes) last season alone for the Bulldogs. He was named First-Team All-Sec and an All-American.
Forbes is tall and lanky with great on-the-ball production and was one of the top players in coverage in the SEC last season. Weighing in at 166 pounds, according to the NFL Combine, he hits incredibly hard and has excellent coverage skills.
The pure athleticism of Forbes was on display at the NFL Combine, where he logged a 4.35 40-yard dash and a 1.38 10-yard split at the NFL Scouting Combine.
If Forbes is available at 28, he could be a talented piece added to the CB room and Lou Anarumo’s system.
The 2023 NFL Draft is set to begin on April 27th.
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