With the 131st pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select Purdue Boilermakers wide receiver Charlie Jones. This is the first offensive skill player the Bengals have drafted since running back Chris Evans in Round 6 of the 2021 draft.
One of the best stories in the entire draft class, Jones’ football journey is a tremendous story of perseverance. He began his career at Buffalo, where he caught 18 passes in the 2018 season.
Jones would then transfer to Iowa, where he caught 21 passes over two seasons.
With the free COVID-19 year, Jones opted to play his final season of college football at Purdue, where he would have a historic season while becoming one of the best offensive players in America.
In 13 games, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Jones hauled in an FBS-high 110 passes for 1,361 yards and 12 touchdowns.
In addition, Jones was a punt and kickoff returner, finishing his career with 72 punt returns for 622 yards (8.1 avg) and one score. He added 45 kickoff returns for 1,002 yards (22.3 avg) and one touchdown.
The former class of 2017 recruit ended up spending six years in college, and only one saw him be consistently productive. He’ll also turn 25 in October, a big reason why he slipped into Day 3.
Still, this is a great pick for the Bengals with Tyler Boyd set to depart in 2024 when his contract expires. Jones figures to be groomed to take his spot while also giving Cincinnati more wide receiver depth.
Coming into Day 3, Jones was regarded as one of the best players available. There’s that phrase again, something we’ve been hearing a lot of in this draft for Cincinnati.
Exceptionally productive in his season at Purdue after transferring from Iowa, Jones will have trouble shedding tight, press-man coverage due to his lack of suddenness and blow-by speed. He possesses above average ball skills and has a feel for positioning and focus that creates a solid win rate on his contested catches. He can play zone-beater all day long and has the route savvy to keep improving his short-area separation. Jones is unlikely to work the deepest portions of the field but might find work in a possession-based passing game as a Day 3 draft pick.
- Runs routes with hip sink and crisp cuts.
- Generates good burst out of breaks.
- Clever hand usage for late separation.
- Bodies up defender, keeping catch space open.
- Sustains focus with coverage draped over him.
- Moves feet to work his way to the throw and catches with soft hands.
- Consistently productive as kick and punt returner.
- Lacking suddenness to shake press.
- Has trouble blowing by tight man coverage downfield.
- Adjusts stride level, alerting coverage of impending break.
- Has trouble uncovering consistently on all levels.
- High percentage of tries are contested.
- Catch radius is very modest.
The Bengals’ remaining top draft needs are:
RB, TE, DT, P.
Bengals Draft Picks 2023
- Round 1 (28) - Clemson Tigers DE Myles Murphy
- Round 2 (60) - Michigan Wolverines CB DJ Turner
- Round 3 (92) - Alabama Crimson Tide S Jordan Battle
- Round 4 (131) - Purdue Boilermakers WR Charlie Jones
- Round 5 (163)
- Round 6 (206)
- Round 7 (246)
Day 3 NFL Draft schedule: 12 pm ET, Saturday, April 29th
How to watch the NFL Draft: Catch the draft on the television via NFL Network, ABC, ESPN, and ESPN Deportes. And for online stream options, you’ve got YouTube TV, Hulu+ Live TV, Fubo TV, and Sling TV.
Now, what are your thoughts on the new Bengals draftee? Let us know in the comments section!