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Bengals go with a guard in 2023 re-draft

I don’t know about this one...

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent 2023 re-draft article, Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon passed on Myles Murphy for the Cincinnati Bengals in Round 1 in favor of TCU guard Steve Avila.

Before we discuss Avila, let’s just address the elephant on the draft board. Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta, who was once a second-round pick of the Detroit Lions, was in this scenario a first-round pick of the, checks notes, Detroit Lions. (Kenyon also selected Jahmyr Gibbs for the Lions with their other first round pick, so either he loves Detroit or is so disinterested in them that he mailed in those picks, but I digress...)

In real life, Avila went in the early second round and started for the Los Angeles Rams at left guard. On the surface, this makes sense. The offensive line has long been the Bengals’ biggest need, and they lost Joe Burrow to a season-ending injury this year. Their weakest position is left guard. This was definitely a need pick, but how much better than Cordell Volson is Avila?

Taking 60 more snaps than Volson for the year, Avila graded out slightly higher according to Pro Football Focus (Avila: 61.1, Volson 58.3). Avila, however, only gave up two sacks, compared to Volson’s five.

Still, is that a difference worthy of a first-round pick? Would that have made a major impact on the offense this season or next season? I’m not so sure if that is the pick I’d go with based on positional value or how well Myles Murphy played when he did see the field.

In far fewer reps, Murphy showed that he can make a difference as a pass rusher. While he did not have a major impact in 2023, I expect big things out of him in the future. I understand the argument for drafting a guard in that spot, but I think history will find this hypothetical pick laughable.