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Top 5 defensive tackles for the Bengals to target in the 2023 NFL Draft

We take a look at some of the top defensive tackles in the 2023 NFL Draft that the Bengals should have their eyes on.

Top 5 defensive tackles for the Bengals to target in the 2023 NFL Draft

Under the guidance of Lou Anarumo, the Cincinnati Bengals defense has been one of the best units in the NFL over the last two years. Last season, we saw the limit of good coaching, however, as the Bengals struggled to get home while rushing.

With that in mind, adding another disruptive body on the defensive line would benefit the Bengals.

So, let’s take a look at some of the top defensive tackles the Bengals could target in the upcoming Draft.

1. Calijah Kancey, Pitt

A common favorite among Bengals mock drafters, Kancey is a wrecking ball on the interior who was good enough in run support and extremely disruptive against the pass. There is, of course, the knock with his size, not only is he short and light for the position, but he also has very short arms, which could cause issues going up against higher-caliber players. Even considering that, the biggest red flag is the fact that he is likely taken before 28. Even if he makes it to 28, it is not guaranteed that the Bengals will be interested in taking on such an undersized player. At the end of the day, he was an excellent interior pass rusher in college, which is something the Bengals desperately need.

2. Bryan Bresee, Clemson

If Bresee’s 2022 tape had looked like his 2021 tape, there would’ve been almost no chance he makes it to 28. However, he had some personal struggles from the loss of his sister that did seem to affect his play on the field. Assuming he gets back to his 2021 play, there are still concerns as few defensive tackles of his height (6’6”) find consistent success as they lose the leverage battle. However, he is an elite athlete from one of the top colleges in the country, and he should offer the Bengals some more flashes of pass rush on the interior.

3. Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern

A player that has risen up boards a lot since the Draft process started, Adebawore is another elite athlete but one who mostly played on the edge in college. For the pros, it might be best to move him inside with occasional snaps on edge. Like Kancey, he is undersized, but he has longer arms and is taller, so he has the frame to pack on more weight to work in the interior. The biggest knock against Adebawore is that, for the Bengals, probably moving him inside everything is a projection. He is a ball of moldable clay of the highest quality, and if the Bengals can get the most out of him, then he could be one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL, but he could just as easily do nothing.

4. Gervon Dexter, Florida

Dexter does not really fit what I laid out of looking for a pass-rushing defensive tackle, as he was not much of a pass-rusher in college. He did end up testing like a freakish athlete with his big frame though. He did not often show the elite athleticism that he tested with, which is often a sign that it will never really show up on the field. He was good against the run regardless in college and could be someone to be upon to be good against the run and have room to develop as a pass rusher, to tap into the athleticism.

5. Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin

Someone that may be available a bit later, Benton was a solid pass rusher in college. He ended up testing well, which is a good sign for his future production. The issue with Benton is he never looked like more than an above-average pass rusher, and he didn’t test like an elite athlete, just an above-average one. So, with Benton, the question can be about the ceiling, if he reaches it, how high will it be? Odds are decent with Benton being, at worst, a good role player, but is that good enough to bolster the team's pass rush.

Let us know in the comments which defensive tackles would you like the Bengals to target! Any favorites not on this list?