Bengals rookies earn first-team reps


Two rookies from the Bengals’ 2023 NFL Draft class have earned first-team reps but they may not be who you think.

According to reports, CB DJ Turner II, Cincinnati’s second-round pick, and S Jordan Battle, the team’s third-round pick, have lined up with the first-team defense.

It may come as a surprise that first-round pick Myles Murphy hasn’t gotten the chance yet but his path to a starting role seems much more difficult behind established edge rushers Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard.

Not to say Murphy won’t see any playing time in 2023, but the paths for Turner II and Battle to see action as rookies feels more realistic as the Bengals have dealt with their fair share of injuries to the secondary.

Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie, Cam Taylor-Britt and Mike Hilton all dealt with injuries last season. If something similar happens this year, Turner II offers a great insurance policy with a 4.26 40-yard dash speed.

Cincinnati is also heading into 2023 with two new starters at safety in second-year S Dax Hill and veteran S Nick Scott. If either struggles or deal with injuries of their own, Battle could slide into the starting lineup.

Scott added that he has already been impressed by Battle in OTAs.

“His ability to pick up the playbook and understand concepts and everything like that, that’s a great sign,” Scott told reporters. “I’m excited about him. I think he’s a guy that will be able to help this team in a lot of different ways.”

It is still too early to tell, but the Bengals’ 2023 draft class may be what finally helps them get over the hump after making back-to-back AFC title games and a Super Bowl appearance the past two years.

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