The Cincinnati Bengals didn’t have a draft that will awe fans. There’s no Joe Burrow or Ja’Marr Chase joining Cincinnati this upcoming season, but the talent they did get could be incredibly impactful in the near future.
NFL analysts seem to agree that the Bengals left the 2023 NFL Draft significantly better than when they entered. Their main pickup was first-round selection Myles Murphy, who should plan to have an instant impact on the team’s defensive line.
That said, let’s dive into how the Bengals haul was graded by several national sites.
NFL.com — A-
The Bengals patiently waited for three potential early starters on defense to fall into their laps. Murphy brings power and flashes of quickness off the edge, Turner’s speed and aggressiveness were worthy of a late second-round pick and Battle’s a solid all-around safety.
The Ringer: B+
The Bengals had a quietly solid draft after focusing heavily on defense in the early rounds. They nabbed a long, super-athletic edge rusher in the first round in Clemson’s Myles Murphy, who should factor into the team’s pass-rush rotation alongside Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard, and Joseph Ossai right away. Cincy bolstered their secondary by grabbing a feisty and versatile cover corner in Michigan’s DJ Turner, and later picked a tone-setting safety in Alabama’s Jordan Battle—a duo that should augment a defensive backfield already headlined by Dax Hill, Cam Taylor-Britt, Mike Hilton, and Chidobe Awuzie. I think a couple of Cincinnati’s day-three picks could play roles early on, with Purdue receiver Charlie Jones bringing slot receiver skills and Illinois running back Chase Brown bringing a physical style on the ground.
Pro Football Focus: A (have separate day-specific analysis)
Day 1: Murphy looked like a future top-five pick after a freshman season that saw him produce an 85.2 PFF grade, but we never really saw him progress beyond that. However, he has produced a PFF grade of at least 79.0 in each of the past three seasons and racked up 76 pressures over the past two years.
USA Today: B
Seems like your typical Cincy draft, pretty much right down the fairway while addressing present needs and anticipating future ones. The first three selections were devoted to a 16th-ranked defense with a secondary currently in transition. But first-round DE Myles Murphy and third-round S Jordan Battle should get on the field early, while second-round slot CB DJ Turner II is a plus athlete – if a project who will get developmental time. Fifth-round RB Chase Brown, a second-team All-Big Ten pick last year after racking up nearly 1,900 yards from scrimmage, could push Joe Mixon.
Sporting News: A
The Bengals “let the draft come to them” for Duke Tobin and his scouting staff. It was only a mild surprise they want defense-first to help Lou Anarumo, but Murphy was a great first-round value to further their pass rush. Turner and Battle also can have key coverage roles right away, given some free-agent departures. Jones, a possession-based slot, as well as Iosivas, is thinking ahead to losing Tyler Boyd in 2024, while Brown gives them a nice option to pivot away from Joe Mixon soon.
DK Nation: B
Cincinnati has used the previous two years of free agency to address the offensive line, so they got to sit back and mostly go best player available in this draft. Murphy is a solid selection at No. 28 and the Bengals are hoping he can eschew some of the negative perceptions about defensive line prospects from Clemson. Nabbing Brown in the fifth round could prove to be a steal for Cincy, especially with the speculation of Joe Mixon’s run there coming to an end soon. It was a solid, B-grade level draft for the Bengals this year. — NS
FOX Sports: B
Here’s to simplicity: no trades — as usual for the Bengals — with just a pick each round, hitting on key needs. Myles Murphy at 28 shows off the depth of the edge prospects in this draft, and third-day picks like receiver Charlie Jones and running back Chase Brown were super-productive in the Big Ten. Princeton’s Andrei Iosavis’ athletic measurables are off the charts as well. —Greg Auman
Washington Post: B-
The Bengals devoted their Day 1 and Day 2 choices to their defense. They did nothing exceptional but seemed to make no significant mistakes. First-round pass rusher Myles Murphy, second-round CB D.J. Turner and third-round S Jordan Battle were worthy of their draft slots
New York Post: C- (Excuse me?)
The secondary needed attention after losing Jessie Bates, Vonn Bell and Eli Apple. Enter two rookies who can compete to start, including the fastest player at the NFL Scouting Combine (Turner). The flashes-only Murphy instead of a tight end was a curious call.