Conrad Clowers. File photo

By Conrad Clowers

Herald Sports Writer

Another NFL draft has come and gone. Many broke young athletes some from broken homes just used their skills to become instant millionaires. Others still have hopes of making the NFL, but will have to go the hard way of college free agency. The shot to make it is a long one. Cincinnati is amongst the NFL’s best teams now. The later the draft selection the better the team. Cincy did not pick their first player until 27 other players had been picked.

Last season the Bengals finished 29th in the NFL in sacks. It became a need to get more pressure on the quarterback and get him on the ground. This is where Myles Murphy comes into play. Murphy is the Bengals first round pick. He specializes in rushing the quarterback and starred at Clemson University. Murphy went on to be named first team, all ACC and was listed as ESPN’s 33rd best college football player. Murphy will compete with playing time with ends Sam Hubbard, Trey Hendrickson and Joseph Ossei.

Myles Murphy. Bengals photo

In 2021 when the Bengals made their Super Bowl run the defensive backfield was solidified with Chidobe Awuzie. Last season, Awuzie suffered a season ending knee injury. The defensive backfield wasn’t what it was in ’22 as it was in ’21. The team addressed its defensive backfield challenges by selecting D.J turner out of Michigan. Turner harassed college wide receivers with his blinding speed en route to leading Michigan to an undefeated regular season. Third round pick and defensive backs Jordan Battle out of Alabama and 7th rounder D. J Ivey were also selected.

Offensively the Bengals looked for depth complimentary wide receivers. As the team is already solidified with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins as starters, Charles Jones out of Purdue and Andrei Iosiuas from Princeton were selected. Both have the type of skill set the Bengals look for with route running ability and shiftiness.

Not only looking for wideout depth, running back was also a focal point. There will be no more Samaje Perrine who took his talents to Denver. Joe Mixon’s future is hanging in the balance with legal issues. The team selected power and speed back Chase Brown out of Illinois as a viable insurance package to Mixon should the team decide to part with his high salary.  The majority of the Bengals picks will see action at some point this season. While none will likely become starters, look for Murphy, Turner and Battle to make the biggest impacts.

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