2023 Cincinnati Bengals

Don Wassall

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The Bengals return eight of the nine White starters they had in 2022, with only tight end Hayden Hurst moving on. And why not, as the team has become very successful with its current nucleus.

QB Joe Burrow has lived up to his first overall draft status and then some, recently being rewarded with the richest contract in league history. He's smart as a whip, has a very accurate arm and can be mobile when need be. His biggest problem since turning pro has been the beating he takes at times due to poor protection. That was alleviated to a large degree last season as the Bengals shifted away from the outright bad sumo-dominated line of the previous few seasons.

Burrow is backed up by Jake Browning.

The returning four White starters on the line are LG Cordell Volson (perhaps one of the few White Cordells or Kordells in the country :)), center Ted Karras, RG Alex Cappas, and RT Jonah Williams, the former first round draft choice. RG Max Scharping is the only White backup.

Drew Semple and Mitchell Wilcox are backup tight ends behind black starter Irv Smith, who has been a bust despite his alleged tremendous upside. It wouldn't be a surprise to see tight end addressed as the most important position of need next year.

At wide receiver, Trenton Irwin out of Stanford did very well in spot duty last year as the fourth wideout, finishing with 15 catches for 231 yards and 4 TDs. This year the Bengals smartly drafted Charlie Jones in the fourth round after his big season with Purdue last year. Jones in his rookie season will likely replace Trent Taylor as Cincinnati's primary punt returner and fifth receiver. The hope is that with starters Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd both approaching free agent status and a quarter of a billions dollars just used to sign Burrow alone, the team will let Boyd walk and replace him with Jones next season.

The three White starters on defense are as solid as can be. Left end Sam Hubbard is a run stuffing specialist as well as a very good pass rusher while right end Trey Hendrickson is one of the best pass rushers and sack specialists in the league. They are joined by middle linebacker Logan Wilson, who is the typical White tackling machine who also comes up with lots of interceptions and other big plays.

MLB Joe Bachie is the only other White defensive player.

QB: Joe Burrow, Jake Browning
LG: Cordell Volson
C: Ted Karras
RG: Alex Cappas, Max Scharping
RT: Jonah Williams
TE: Drew Semple, Mitchell Wilcox
WR: Charlie Jones, Trenton Irwin

LE: Sam Hubbard
RE: Trey Hendrickson
MLB: Logan Wilson, Joe Bachie

P: Brad Robbins
PK: Evan McPherson
LS: Cal Adomitis

Practice squad: DE Garrett Nelson, OG Jaxson Kirkland, TE Tanner Hudson, QB Will Grier (talented QB, hopefully will get a shot some day with a team), C/G Nate Gilliam, TE Zach Gentry

Number of White starters: 8
Number of White players on 53 man roster: 18
Grade: C-/D+
 

Freethinker

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One of the best teams for White athletes again this year. They are so many levels more palatable in the AFC North that it would be a huge disappointment for us if they don’t win the division.
 

Don Wassall

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I'd say the Bengals are to the point that anything other than a long playoff run will be seen as a disappointment whether they win the division or start off as a wildcard entry. But the same is also true of Buffalo and Kansas City. Any team other than one of those three who ends up prevailing in the AFC will be seen as a pretty big upset.
 
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