Bengals: 3 best players to target after first round of NFL Draft

The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Cincinnati Bengals made a solid pick at No. 28 in Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy. The work is not over, though. There are still six rounds and six more Bengals draft picks left to go. With that in mind, here are the three best players left on the board for the team to target with the Bengals’ second-round pick and beyond in the NFL Draft.

3. CB Tyrique Stevenson, Miami

The 2023 NFL Draft is deep at the cornerback position, so even though the Bengals draft didn’t include a CB in Round 1, they can still get an excellent player later in the proceedings.

One player who has shot up draft boards as the pre-draft process has gone along is Miami Hurricanes DB Tyrique Stevenson. At 6 feet, 198 pounds, Stevenson has the size to match up with some of the biggest wideouts in the league, and he has the strength and speed to battle them down the field.

Stevenson is also a decent run defender with the size and toughness to continue to grow in that area at the NFL level. Overall, Stevenson should be able to do everything Cincinnati defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo needs him to do, which is why he’d be an excellent fit for the Bengals’ second-round pick.

Joey Porter Jr. from Penn State should be the first CB off the board on Day 2, and Kellee Ringo from Georgia and Cam Smith from South Carolina are also top prospects. The Bengals may be able to sit at No 60 and get Tyrique Stevenson, but moving up a few spots wouldn’t hurt either.

2. OL Cody Mauch, North Dakota State

The Bengals learned the hard way last season that you can never have enough depth on the offensive line. O-line injuries caught up with the team in the playoffs are was one of the big reasons the team lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game.

The Bengals’ draft picks this year need to include offensive line depth, and North Dakota State lineman Cody Mauch would be an excellent fit for the team. Mauch is a 6-foot-5, 302-pound lineman who played both offensive tackle spots in college and has the build and skills to become a starting guard in the NFL.

The Bengals have a solid starting O-line now, with left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., left guard Cordell Volson (Mauch’s college teammate), center Ted Karras, right guard Alex Cappa, and right tackle Jonah Williams. However,

Even if Mauch doesn’t steal one of the Bengals’ starters spots on the line, he can legitimately backup all five positions, as he’s been working at guard and even center in the lead-up to the 2023 NFL Draft.

And if the season goes like last year, Cody Mauch could be a quality starter come playoff time.

1. TE Sam LaPorta, Iowa

In the last two seasons, the Bengals had pretty good tight ends on the roster, with C.J. Uzomah in 2021 and Hayden Hurst in 2022. However, Joe Burrow has never had a truly dynamic TE, and both Uzomah and Hurst have left in free agency the past two offseason.

Right now, the TE depth chart in Cincinnati has Irv Smith Jr., Drew Sample, Devin Asiasi, and Tanner Hudson on it. Smith and Sample are fine players, and Smith has always had more potential than he’s shown, but there isn’t a true difference-maker in that bunch.

Iowa TE Sam LaPorta is a dynamic prospect who would not only fit nicely with Smith and Sample but also has a chance to become one of the league’s best receivers at the position.

LaPorta is 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, which is on the smaller size for tight ends, but he has shown he can play on the end of the line or as a move tight end. In the Bengals offense, Zac Taylor and Brian Callahan can find creative ways to use him.

While the former Hawkeye has gained momentum late in the pre-draft process, with the TEs still on the board, the team might not have to use its Bengals’ second-round pick on him. With players like Michael Mayer, Darnell Washington, and Luke Musgrave still available, the team may be able to use one of the later Day 2 Bengals draft picks on the player.

And if Sam LaPorta does pan out as a late Day 2 selection, the Bengals’ pass-catching corps of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Sam LaPorta will be the best in the league next year, if it isn’t already.

The post Bengals: 3 best players to target after first round of NFL Draft appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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