Bengals focus on defensive in NFL Draft

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Bengals picked up speed, added depth to the secondary, and gave quarterback Joe Burrow more weapons last week in the NFL Draft.

The big pick was defensive end Myles Murphy from Clemson.

The 6-foot-5, 275-pounder was the No. 1 pick for the Bengals and 28th overall, and will join already-proven standouts Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard and Joseph Ossai up front.

Murphy finished his college career with 116 tackles (36 for loss), 18.5 sacks and forced six fumbles.

With the departures of safeties Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell, the Bengals added D.J. Turner from Michigan to the defensive backfield.

Turner will join former Wolverine Dax Hill in the secondary.

He’s noted to be superior in man-to-man coverage and has noted agility.

He is expected to make an immediate impact to Lou Anarumo’s secondary, and brings more speed to the nickel cornerback slot.

Cincinnati brass then picked up where it left off in third round when it selected Alabama defensive back Jordan Battle with the 95th pick.

He is expected to contribute to special teams and can figure into the secondary when needed.

Last season, the Bengals were plagued with injuries in the secondary in crucial games and in the playoffs.

Battle puts the defensive back talent pool even deeper.

Burrow got another weapon in the fourth round when the Bengals took Purdue wide receiver Charlie Jones.

The six-foot, 187-pound speedster is a noted solid route runner with good hands.

In his final season for the Boilermakers, he had 110 catches for 1,360 yards and 12 touchdowns.

He joins the star-studded arsenal of Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and Trenton Irwin — and will see action as a rookie.

This is an exciting addition because Jones’ 4.4 speed will give Burrow more options, and will keep the pressure on the opposing teams’ defenses if the O-Line can protect Joey Franchise.

The Bengals also added a running back with the 163rd pick in the fifth round with Chase Brown from Illinois.

During the offseason, rumors about running back Joe Mixon’s departure from the team swirled, especially after the Pro-Bowler was recharged by authorities with misdemeanor aggravated menacing.

The charge was dismissed in February, but was recently refiled by Cincinnati police.

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said last week that Mixon’s future remains with the team.

And, the Bengals looked to the team “up north” again in the sixth round with punter Brad Robbins.

This could bring some stability to the punt team, which was unpredictable and unreliable last year.

Each punt was an adventure, and enticed Taylor to go for it on fourth downs more times than he should have.

The draft overall for the Bengals was positive.

The offensive line still needs addressed, because the additions made last season faltered due to injuries in the playoffs.

Burrow can’t throw on his back, and shouldn’t have to run for this life in the AFC Championship.

In other news, linebacker Logan Wilson is entering his final year of his contract, but is hopeful he will remain in Cincinnati.

He is a fan favorite, produces in the clutch, and wants to remain on the team.

He’s not worried about the negotiations, and neither should the Who Dey faithful.

Ossai had surgery to repair a torn labrum he sustained against Cleveland in December, and is expected to be on the field when the season starts.

The surgery took place in February, and usually requires four-to-five months to recover.

Fans will see a lot of new and young speed on the field this season — combined with the veteran performers which took the team to one Super Bowl and to two AFC Championship games.

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