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Bengals Draft Analysis and Grades, featuring Dale Altman of Bengals & Brews

We welcome in Dale Altman, host of the “Bengals & Brews” podcast to get his Bengals draft haul takes. Cincy Jungle and The Orange and Black Insider have collaborated a number of times recently, as B &B provides great entertainment, as well as both quality guests and hosts.

(Editor’s Note: This post is from Cincy Jungle friend and host of “Bengals & Brews” podcast, Dale Altman. Not only does he and his crew run a highly-entertaining show with other great hosts and guests, but they also bring a lot of insight, research, and data regarding the Cincinnati Bengals.

They’ve been gracious enough to continue to ask members of CJ to jump on their show, collaborate on occasion and support what we do here. Dale wanted to put some of his thoughts to paper on the Bengals’ 2023 Draft class, and with him engaging in a lot of research into the event, we wanted to give him a platform for his thoughts.

You can subscribe to the Bengals & Brews YouTube channel here. Thanks to Dale for the article and to the B&B gang for their continued support of all we do here.)


A couple of days after the 2023 NFL Draft has come and gone feels like a good time to break down each selection and how I feel about the Bengals’ latest draft class. Throughout this write-up, I will not only give a quick breakdown of each pick but also attach an all-too-early grade for each one.

The true grades will come two to three years down the road for these players, but this is always a fun exercise and be able to look back at exactly how each prospect ended up panning out.

Round 1 – Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson Tigers

A pick that somehow came as a surprise for some people, even though the Bengals had him in for a top-30 visit, along with the fact that their Defensive Line Coach Marion Hobby graduated from Clemson. Myles is a young player at only 21 years old that has tons of experience throughout his time in college, playing in all 38 games with 27 starts while at Clemson.

He tested like an elite athlete during the process by running a 4.53 40-yard dash, 2.62 short shuttle, and a 1.59 10-yard split. All of those numbers rank in the elite category of the Relative Athletic Score (RAS) system that was created by the marvelously-mustachioed Kent Lee Platte. That athleticism does translate to the tape where he displays an elite first step and get off from the snap.

However, he oftentimes gets too far up the field and then has to use his athleticism and speed to get back in the play. He has an aggressive bull rush, but he needs to develop more variety in his pass-rushing arsenal at the next level to reach his full potential. Overall, this was still great value at pick No. 28 for Hobby to mold into at least a solid defensive end in the NFL in an early rotational role with the potential to be a 10-plus-sack player a few years down the road.

Grade = B+

Round 2 – DJ Turner, Cornerback, Michigan Wolverines

One of the coolest real names in the entire NFL Draft is his being JuanDrago. As much as I want to say JuanDrago this entire time, I will go with the abbreviated DJ (or “Turner”) going forward here. DJ is another good athlete with incredible speed whom the Bengals decided to add to their secondary. This has been a major theme of the past two draft classes after adding Dax Hill, Cam Taylor-Britt, and Tycen Anderson last year, who all timed in the 4.3s for the 40-yard dash.

JuanDrago, I mean DJ, was able to top all three of those guys and had the fastest time at the Combine with a 4.26 in the 40-yard dash. Turner was a reliable starter the past two years at Michigan, who showed off his tremendous ball-tracking ability with 20 passes defended during that time. Even so, he will need to cut down on his pass interference penalties and has less-than-ideal arm length for the position.

However, I cannot imagine the Bengals had a hard time turning the pick in for DJ when he was still on the board at pick No. 60. Turner seems like a player that will be an impact special teams guy from day one and then potentially move into a starting position the following season.

Grade = A

Round 3 – Jordan Battle, Safety, Alabama Crimson Tide

When discussing this selection, I have a hard time getting the image of Lou Anarumo smiling ear-to-ear behind Coach Taylor as he made the phone call to let the young man know he was being selected. All of the reports of Battle being a leader on the field and in the locker room have to be a welcome addition for a position that lost two team leaders in both Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell during Free Agency.

Battle played in all 54 games during his time at Alabama. He was a staple on special teams while still starting in 44 of those 54 games and being a back-to-back All-American selection the past two years. He is not the most athletic player, but he makes up for that with his high football IQ.

If he isn’t a Day 1 starter in Cincinnati, you can rely on him to be a productive special teams player right away. Even if he starts out on special teams, it will be hard to keep him off the field from taking snaps on defense and playing early, similar to how it was for Alabama.

Grade = A-

Round 4 – Charlie Jones, Wide Receiver, Purdue Boilermakers

This pick surprised me a bit. Not because I do not think Jones can be a really good player, but rather that there was some other talent that seemed to be falling in players like RB Izzy Abanikanda and even Tyler Scott from UC at wide receiver that I had my eye on for the fourth-round pick.

It didn’t take long to convince me though that this was the guy all along for this pick when I found out his nickname is “Chuck Sizzle”—talk about an elite nickname for a guy in a Bengals class with some fun names, he definitely has it. “Chuck Sizzle” has great speed with reliable hands, with only three drops on over 150 targets last year alone at Purdue.

Last year, Jones was All-American player with over 1,300 receiving yards. He is an excellent return man that could end up filling both kick return and punt return roles as a rookie and then taking on an even bigger offensive role, if needed, or if the Bengals do not re-sign Tyler Boyd for next year.

The concerns with “Chuck Sizzle” are that he had only the one year of major production after bouncing around from Buffalo to Iowa and then finally being a one-year starter at Purdue. He will also be turning 25 years old in October.

With all of that said, he has a chance to be the most explosive returner the Bengals have had in the building since Pacman Jones, while also providing a chance to contribute down the road as a receiver.

Grade = B

Round 5 – Chase Brown, Running Back, Illinois Fighting Illini

Brown was my personal favorite pick of the draft. I had a late-third-round grade on him, and Cincinnati was able to snag him here at the end of the fifth round. Brown not only has an incredible story off the field that I will not go in-depth with here (it is easily available on YouTube and multiple other places), but he is also just an absolute beast on the field.

This is a guy who was asked to literally carry a majority of the load for Illinois on offense by way of 328 carries. He is elusive, breaks a ton of tackles, and has great speed. He finished with over 1,600 rushing yards this past season and also had his best season as a pass catcher with 27 catches and another 240 yards.

A major issue that will need to be cleaned up is his ability to protect the ball, as his five fumbles in 2022 bring concern. However, he did have to carry a lot of that offense and seems like the type of kid that is more than willing to put the work in to get better at perceived weak area—similar to how he improved steadily as both a pass catcher and blocker while at Illinois. He should step in and get some of Samaje Perine’s snaps early on with a chance to potentially be more explosive all around as a ball carrier.

Grade = A

Round 6 – Andrei Iosivas, Wide Receiver, Princeton Tigers

Another guy for the “All Looks” team here. If he doesn’t pan out on the football field, he can go be a male model, according to both my wife and also my friend and Bengals & Brews podcast co-host, “Porkchop,” AKA Chris Mertens.

Iosivas is yet another great athlete, further pointing to a recent theme with Bengals draft picks. Iosivas was a two-sport star at Princeton and set a track meet record for the 60-meter dash while competing in the Heptathlon.

On the football field, he had his best season yet with 66 catches and 943 yards. He is fast, has good hands, and tracks the ball really well on downfield throws.

He will need some time to develop into an NFL player and should be able to add some strength to his frame now that he is not competing in both track and football during the year. He has the size, speed, and ability that is worth trying to develop, but we should probably not expect much early on in his career.

Grade = B

Round 6 – Brad Robbins (Punter) Michigan Wolverines

I’m not going to sit here and pretend to know tons and tons about this guy, but I will say that he was high on my list for what I wanted in a punter after seeing the reports that Joe Goodberry and Jake Liscow create each year. He had the highest hang time of all the punters in the draft, just above Michael Turk from Oklahoma.

Now, if we can just get Robbins to bring back his own beautiful mustache he was rocking at one point while at Michigan, I think we will be on to something with a potentially elite punter. And, yes—that opinion is based strictly off of facial hair vibes. Those vibes have been right before, so no reason to think they would let me down now.

Grade = A+ with the Mustache

Grade = B without the Mustache

Round 7 – DJ Ivey, Cornerback, Miami (FL):

Ivey has solid size at cornerback with a good wingspan and arm length. Unlike many others of the past two Bengals draft classes, though, he’s not the most explosive athlete.

Ivey had a very up-and-down career at Miami. He ended up with six career interceptions and 17 passes defended in his four years playing meaningful snaps. He will have to show out on special teams to try and squeeze on the back end of the roster. Most likely, though, the Bengals will try to land him on the practice squad and develop him this season.

Grade = B

Overall, I am a huge fan of this draft, and on paper, it feels to me like a top 3-4 class from over the past 15 years. Having the consistency of the coaching staff together, along with the front office staff not having much turnover these last several years, seems to really make a difference that has everyone on the same page these past few years when drafting.

This class has a lot of guys that can contribute in rotational roles, on special teams, and be developed for the future. It all seems like a good mix for both the present and trying to win a Lombardi Trophy while still making sure they do not end up with too many holes to fill in the future once some of these big offensive contracts start hitting.

The final statement for this draft is that the Cincinnati Bengals definitely got better over these last few days and improved upon an already-strong roster. Who Dey!!

Overall Grade = A (as long as Brad Robbins brings the sweet ‘stache back)