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ESPN 3-round mock draft features a new name for the Bengals in Round 1

Mel Kiper and McShay make the selections by playing GM for NFL teams. Here’s who the Bengals landed.

Syndication: The Topeka Capital-Journal NATHAN J FISH/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2023 NFL Draft is just over a week away.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay most recently completed a three-round mock draft for all 32 NFL teams.

The two analysts took a deep dive into playing GM for all teams predicting their first, second, and third-round predictions based on the team's needs and players available.

Round 1, Pick 28 - Julius Brents

Todd McShay was in charge of the Bengals’ first-round pick and changed things up by selecting Kansas State Wildcats CB Julius Brents.

McShay stated, “I’m guessing this will be a bit of a surprise, but I love this dude’s tape. And I just moved Brents up to No. 27 overall on my board. He is tall and long, and he can smother receivers in press coverage. The Bengals really need some help in that area.”

Brents started all 14 games for Kansas State in 2022. The CB tallied 45 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, and eight total passes defended while being named to the All-Big 12 First Team honors.

Brents recorded a 4.53s 40-yard dash, 1.57s 10-yard split, 41.5” vertical jump, and 11’6” broad jump at the NFL Combine.

Round 2, Pick 60 - Matthew Bergeron

McShay selected the Bengals’ second-round pick and chose Syracuse Orange OT/G Matthew Bergeron.

McShay stated, “The Bengals signed Orlando Brown Jr. to end their pass-protection woes once and for all. But if Jonah Williams gets traded, the issues could pop right back up. Bergeron has the quicks and strength to provide depth at offensive tackle; but he also could play guard despite seeing just five snaps there in college.”

Bergeron spent four seasons with Syracuse, being named to the All-ACC team twice. He finished with 39 career starts at offensive tackle (right tackle in 2019, left tackle from 2020-2022) and was the third-highest overall tackle and fourth among all offensive linemen in the ACC this past season, according to Pro Football Focus.

In 2022, Bergeron was penalized three times and allowed five sacks in 686 total snaps, according to Syracuse Football.

The 6’ 5’’ 318-pound offensive tackle received a 77 total score at the NFL Combine, ranking 8th out of all offensive tackles.

Round 3, Pick 92 - Ji’Ayir Brown

With Cincinnati’s third-round pick, McShay selected Penn State Nittany Lions S Ji’Ayir Brown.

McShay stated, “Cincinnati plugged the Jessie Bates III hole at safety with Nick Scott in free agency, but there are still some question marks at the position on the Bengals’ depth chart. Watch a few minutes of Brown’s tape, and you’ll be wowed by his instincts and recognition skills. I think he could move around the defense and contribute as a rookie.”

Brown started 12 games at safety for Penn State in 2022. The safety tallied 66 tackles (50 solo) with 5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, three pass breakups, and five quarterback hurries. Brown was named Penn State’s team MVP and winner of the Iron Lion Award.

Brown was also named the 2022 Rose Bowl Defensive MVP after tallying eight total tackles (6 solo tackles), 1.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and an interception.

Brown had a great performance at the NFL Combine logging a 4.65s 40-yard dash, 1.56s 10-yard split, 32.5” vertical jump, and a 9’11” broad jump. He finished with a total score of 80, ranking first out of all safeties at the Combine.

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