We are off and running on Day 3 of the NFL Draft, where the Cincinnati Bengals selected Purdue wide receiver Charlie Jones.
Jones is the first offensive selection for the Bengals in 2023 and brings upside to an already loaded wide receiver room.
Many thought the Bengals could look at a running back here, but they opt for a different offensive skill position.
What he brings to the Bengals
Strong Hands: When the ball is within his reach, Jones will come down with it more often than not. Jones is comfortable tracking the ball in the air and will attack it at its highest point. Jones seems to have a knack for making tough catches in traffic. Jones only has six drops in his entire career.
Route Running: Jones’ knowledge of leverage allows him to locate and settle into the soft spots in zone coverage concepts. He excels at selling the vertical stretch, allowing him to create separation from defensive backs and then work back toward the quarterback to finish. Jones also seems to attack a defender’s base very well using his quick feet, moving the defender off their spot.
Why the Bengals picked Jones
Special Teams Value: Early on, Jones has a chance to see the field as a returner. The Bengals lacked explosion in the return game often last year, and Jones could challenge for that spot in camp. His athletic profile won’t “wow” you, but his ability to make the first defender miss is exciting.
The Future: Much has been made about extending Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase, If the Bengals are able to successfully do that, Tyler Boyd could be the odd man out. 2023 is the final year of Boyd’s deal. If the senior year we saw from Jones translates to the NFL, he could challenge for the slot receiver role, should the Bengals and Boyd indeed part ways.