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Bengals Rookie Impact Rankings

If there’s anything in the world you can count on, its NFL fans hyping up every single rookie in a draft class. The way they see it, all seven draftees will go on to rotate winning MVPs for the foreseeable future. It might be the most predictable behavior in all of human existence.

Unfortunately, most NFL teams will be lucky if one out of an entire draft class makes an immediate (and positive) impact. Most will be relegated to special teams or bench warming duties. As exciting as it is to imagine the limitless possibilities of a sixth-round rookie, we can’t forget that the rest of the NFL is made up of former rookies too – and they’re the ones who’ve already “made it” in the league.

And don’t get me wrong: after the last few drafts the Bengals have had – hello Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase in back-to-back seasons, please come in, stay a while – I’ll forgive you if you want to assume that every first-round pick they make from here on out is a no-doubt Hall of Famer. Is 15.5 sacks too high an expectation for Myles Murphy? I digress…

A fascinating development of the Bengals draft (and one I am growing more and more appreciative of) was the total absence of a tight end amongst their draft class. Most (including yours truly) expected the Bengals to address the position at some point, if not the first round. Instead, the Bengals will go into the season with Irv Smith Jr. as their primary tight end, and without a clear indication of who the most impactful rookie out of this year’s draft class will be.

Again, it’s pretty unlikely that anyone out of the Bengals 2023 class goes on to be a Pro Bowler in year one. At this point, not a single player has a clear path to starting duties, outside of punter Brad Robbins (who will be competing for the job with Drue Chrisman). And really, who cares about punters? (Okay, I care a little bit about punters.)

With that in mind, I’ve ranked each member of the Bengals draft class in terms of how impactful they’re likely to be in 2023. Please keep in mind, this is not intended to be predictive of their overall career – just the value they can bring to the team during their rookie season.

From Least to Greatest:

8. WR Andrei Iosivas, Sixth Round (#206)

  • Advantages:

  • Very athletic and raw, Iosivas is a very intriguing prospect.

  • If he develops quickly, he could slide into a backup role behind Tee Higgins.

  • Disadvantages:

  • Doesn’t have a great shot of even making the roster, let alone becoming a useful player

  • Will have to beat out Treton Irwin (who’s already shown a rapport with Burrow), Trent Taylor (the Bengals primary punt returner), or Stanley Morgan (one of the Bengals top special teams performers).

2023 Impact: Minimal, might not make roster.

7. CB DJ Ivey, Seventh Round (#246)

  • Advantages:

  • His athleticism and experience bode well for his ability to stick on special teams though, maybe on kickoff and punt coverage.

  • With Chido returning from injury and CTB and DJ Turner inexperienced, they might opt to keep Ivey around as insurance.

  • Disadvantages:

  • Like Iosivas, doesn’t have a guaranteed spot on the roster.

  • Was inconsistent during his time at Miami, will need to demonstrate consistency and dependability if he's going to see the field.

2023 Impact: Minimal, might not make roster.

6. RB Chase Brown, Fifth Round (#163)

  • Advantages:

  • Explosive one-cut runner who isn’t the shiftiest but runs with force and has breakaway speed.

  • If Mixon falters, Brown could eventually take over as the top ball carrier.

  • Right now, there isn't a lot of competition for the #2 RB role after Semaje Perine left for the Denver Broncos.

  • Disadvantages:

  • Brown had fumbling problems in college, and fumbles are the quickest way for a player to lose the trust of the coaching staff.

  • Trayveon Williams and Chris Evans will likely have something to say about the #2 RB spot.

2023 Impact: Sparse, might see the field in certain situations.

5. CB DJ Turner, Second Round (#60)

  • Advantages:

  • Extremely fast with good man coverage skills.

  • Could see playing time if Chidobe Awuzie isn't fully recovered from his ACL tear, or if Cam Taylor-Britt falters in year two.

  • Disadvantages:

  • Is probably slotted into the #4 CB spot and won't be seeing the field much early in his career.

  • The three corners ahead of Turner (Chido, CTB and Mike Hilton) are all established and high-impact players.

2023 Impact: Sparse, might see the field in certain situations.

4. P Brad Robbins, Sixth Round (#217)

  • Advantages:

  • Has an opportunity to seize the starting punter job from Drue Chrisman.

  • Precision punter who avoids touchbacks and pins opponents deep

  • Disadvantages:

  • Cannot flip field position like Chrisman, who has a much stronger leg.

  • Will need to prove his reliability as a holder to really wrestle the job away from Chrisman.

2023 Impact: Moderate, will see the field regularly.

3. S Jordan Battle, Third Round

  • Advantages:

  • A “red star” prospect according to Bengals ST coach Darrin Simmons, suggesting Battle’s already locked in for a special teams role.

  • May have enough upside to usurp the starting job from newly signed Nick Scott.

  • Will likely be called upon for specific three-safety alignments.

  • Disadvantages:

  • Blocked by Dax Hill and Nick Scott

  • Did not show great athleticism during pre-draft workouts.

2023 Impact: Moderate, will see the field regularly.

2. DE Myles Murphy, First Round (#28)

  • Advantages:

  • Immediately steps into the pass rush rotation behind Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard

  • Exceptionally athletic for his size and has ample collegiate experience.

  • Hendrickson and Hubbard are two players who leave everything out on the field, and Murphy will almost certainly be called upon to spell those two when they need a break.

  • Disadvantages:

  • Will have to compete for snaps with Joseph Ossai, who flashed at times last year, but was inconsistent overall and had one of the worst plays of the season in the waning minutes of the AFC Championship Game

  • Did not improve much from his freshman year at Clemson, suggesting he might have already maxxed out his potential.

  • While he is a good run defender, the Bengals drafted him for his pass rushing ability, and if he fails to impress in that area, he could fall behind the Bengals other reserve pass rushers in the pecking order.

2023 Impact: Massive, will be called upon to perform in high-leverage situations.

1. WR Charlie Jones, Fourth Round (#131)

  • Advantages:

  • Reliable, sure-handed and experienced – qualities Burrow has to like.

  • Could step into the primary punt and kick returner role immediately.

  • Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins both missed some time with injuries last year – if either of Chase, Higgins or Tyler Boyd miss snaps, Jones will likely be the one to fill them.

  • Disadvantages:

  • Isn't the most athletic prospect and enters the league at 24-years-old, suggesting there might not be a lot of room for improvement.

  • Struggles to separate downfield from tight coverage and might be limited to a role close to the line of scrimmage.

2023 Impact: Massive, will be called upon to perform in high-leverage situations.

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