The theme of the first two days of the draft was defense, but the Cincinnati Bengals shifted to offense on Saturday, selecting a wide receiver and running back in the fourth and fifth rounds. They grabbed their second wide receiver with their first sixth-round pick by selecting Princeton’s Andrei Iosivas.
The Bengals continue to look to the future with their 2023 NFL Draft selections. With quarterback Joe Burrow’s extension looming, they are making sure they have replacements for guys they may lose in free agency in the next couple of years.
One such position is wide receiver, as the team may not have enough money to keep Tee Higgins around, but almost surely will lose slot receiver Tyler Boyd after 2023.
It’s also clear the Bengals are selecting guys they feel are good athletes, and Iosivas fits the bill. He is a track star with blazing speed and has received all-conference honors three times as a heptathlete. He finished the 2023 NCAA season with 924 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, earning an overall receiving grade of 86.3 from PFF.
What he brings to the Bengals
Speed: As mentioned above, Iosivas began his athletic career as a track star and has incredible speed for someone who is 6’3” and weighs 203 pounds. With Ja’Marr Chase, Higgins, and Boyd on the roster, Iosivas is unlikely to get a ton of playing time with the offense in 2023, but he could be a special teams standout, and, if the Bengals are unable to extend Higgins, they could look to the former Ivy Leaguer to step up.
Last year, it was Christian Watson who shot up draft boards after the season. This year, I think it’s Andrei Iosivas.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) January 21, 2023
The Princeton WR has legit 4.2 speed at 6-3, 200. He’s a moldable ball of clay — however high you have him, it’s not high enough. pic.twitter.com/js4dLIlBkk
Athleticism: If you haven’t noticed, the Bengals are making sure the guys they drafted this year are good athletes, and Iosivas is no different. His RAS score is 9.92 out of 10, which gives him the 14th-highest RAS score for a wide receiver out of the 3,048 wide receivers graded from 1987 to 2023.
Andrei Iosivas is a WR prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 9.96 #RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 14 out of 3048 WR from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/X6YqWnv4u7 pic.twitter.com/H6HY22ZS9h— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 15, 2023
Why the Bengals selected Iosivas
Insurance: Just like on defense, there are big-name pending free agents on the offensive side of the ball too. Both Tyler Boyd and Higgins are going to be unrestricted free agents after the 2023 season, and while the team would likely be happy to keep Higgins around with a long-term extension, there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to. Of course, Iosivas isn’t Higgins, but he’s tall, athletic, and has great speed and could be an insurance policy for the team if Higgins is playing elsewhere in 2024.
Football IQ: You can’t go to a school like Princeton and not have your head on straight. It’s clear the Bengals value athletic guys who also have good character and are coachable. If Iosivas’ clear intelligence can transfer to the football field, he could be a dangerous addition to the offense after he’s molded by his coaches.