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Assessing the value Cincinnati got in Charlie Jones

Is Jones the Bengals’ future slot receiver?

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Syndication: The Enquirer Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK / USA TODAY NETWORK

One could argue the Cincinnati Bengals’ biggest strength currently is at wide receiver, featuring arguably the NFL’s best pass-catching duo in Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.

However, we can’t forget the importance of Tyler Boyd, one of the NFL’s best slot receivers, and a mismatch nightmare with Chase and Higgins on the boundary. We saw the Bengals offense struggle in the AFC Championship after Boyd went out early due to injury, and he’s slated to become a free agent in 2024.

That’s why the Bengals made sure to get a potential future replacement for Boyd in Purdue wideout Charlie Jones, who was selected with the 131st pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pounJones was one of the best stories of the 2022 college football season. He was originally a class of 2017 recruit who struggled to make an impact at Buffalo and then Iowa, though he did become a solid returner for the Hawkeyes in 2021.

For his final year, Jones opted to transfer to Purdue, where he became one of the best offensive players in America. In 13 games, Jones caught an FBS-leading 110 balls for 1,361 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also finished his career with 72 punt returns for 622 yards (8.1 avg) and one score, as well as 45 kickoff returns for 1,002 yards (22.3 avg) and one touchdown.

Despite that magical 2022 season, Jones was widely viewed as a Day 3 prospect heading into this year’s draft, mostly due to his age (turns 25 this October) and having just one year of offensive production.

As a rookie, Jones won’t have a big role on offense as long as Higgins, Boyd, and Chase are healthy, but he’ll be in the mix for a big role on special teams as a return man.