American Football

8 winners and 7 losers from Bengals’ Day 3 draft haul


Princeton v Brown
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Some specific coaches on Cincinnati’s staff had to be pleased with the way things worked out, while some players may be on notice with the new additions.

The Cincinnati Bengals have concluded their 2023 draft class, and it looks like a promising haul. The first two nights were all defense, but the final day was all about re-stocking the offense and adding in special teams value.

There were a number of winners with the Day 3 picks, but also some questions surrounding incumbents.


Irv Smith, Jr. and Drew Sample

Cincinnati made a late play for Smith in free agency, but the prevailing thought was that the team was going to draft another option by the conclusion of Round 4, at the latest. That didn’t happen, showing not only the confidence in Smith as the go-to guy at the position but also in Sample, who has missed significant time in his first four pro seasons.

Be it the top guys in this class available to them early (Michael Mayer, Luke Musgrave, Sam LaPorta) or a myriad of others who tested well and went in the last rounds on Saturday, Cincinnati just wasn’t interested in making a significant investment to complement these two.

Joe Burrow

The first two nights were all Lou Anarumo, but Burrow got some fun new toys on his side of the ball. Some believe Charlie Jones, AKA “Chuck Sizzle”, possesses Cooper Kupp-like traits, while Andrei Iosivas brings blazing speed as a deep threat option.

And, while Burrow had to be disheartened about the departure of Samaje Perine, getting Chase Brown has to excite him.

Brian Callahan and Troy Walters

If “Coach Lou” owned the first three rounds of this class, these two assistants had a big share of the final day. Callahan got two new weapons in the passing game and an exciting replacement for Perine.

Walters is the proud mentor of what could easily be coined as the most talented wide receiver group in the NFL. As mentioned above, Jones and Iosivas bring the play-making ability for short-term rotational purposes and possibly big, long-term payoffs.

Darrin Simmons

Not only may Simmons look at those two new wide receivers for special teams purposes, but he pounded the table for one of the best punters in this class to be selected. He’s long been viewed as one of the best in the special teams business and boosted his unit in a big way on Saturday.

Joe Mixon

There have been a lot of questions about No. 28’s future with the club this year. While his cost and cap hit is high, and there is a lingering off-field issue in the periphery, Cincinnati may have made a supportive statement on Mixon this weekend.

Brown is exciting and could develop into starting material down the road, but the fact that the Bengals didn’t draft a running back until the fifth round, nor did they get into the D’Andre Swift trade sweepstakes may speak volumes about how they feel about Mixon for 2023.

For what it’s worth, head coach Zac Taylor clearly believes Mixon will remain with the team.

Zeke Elliott may still be lingering on the background, and there are things to be determined here, but stay tuned.

Jonah Williams, the guy playing the leverage game

Cincinnati didn’t take a tackle in this year’s class, allowing Williams to potentially have a little more pull in his trade talks and/or playing demands. And, if he does bend on wanting to be dealt, he likely has the inside track on the starting right tackle gig—particularly with La’el Collins looking like he’ll be rehabbing through summer.


“The Trents”

Trenton Irwin and Trent Taylor are fan favorites and have been amazing stories as contributors to the Bengals the past couple of seasons. Irwin began stepping up late last year with big catches against the Patriots, Browns and Steelers.

However, Andrei Iosivas brings speed and a possible return man option, as well as more explosiveness on the outside. Charlie Jones also could be the slot man of the future in the post-Tyler Boyd era—whenever that may kick off.

Trayveon Williams and Chris Evans

You have to feel for Williams because of his tough path to the Bengals’ active roster, akin to Irwin. And, with Perine leaving in free agency, Williams, who re-signed with the team this offseason, looked to potentially have a bigger role.

That may not be the case now with the arrival of Brown in the fifth round. Additionally, Williams was an option at kick returner recently and that may be up in the air.

It would also appear that the team may be moving on from the Chris Evans experiment. After providing a lot of early optimism, he’s been a ghost of late, with the team preferring other backs. He may be the odd man out with Brown coming on board.

Drue Chrisman

When a team uses a pick on a punter, the incumbent is on notice. Brad Robbins brings directional savviness, good hang time, and the ability to hold on kick attempts.

The former two aspects were things that Chrisman struggled with late in the year. Robbins is accustomed to kicking in cold and/or generally poor weather, which should be highly appealing to the Bengals and the all-outdoor venues of the AFC North.

Frank Pollack

While he was a big winner in free agency, the grizzled offensive line coach didn’t get his way in this year’s class—even when accumulating an extra pick. And, with Jonah Williams not getting moved this weekend, there are a number of things to figure out at right tackle.

Jonah Williams, the “trade me guy”

If he truly wanted out, the team didn’t bend. They reportedly listened to offers, but nothing blew their hair back enough to deal the former first-round pick.

Mike Brown has never liked to feel as if he’s being held hostage by a player, so it will be interesting to see where this goes in the future.

Regardless, Williams is a Bengal, which may not sit well with him.

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