We’ve seen 13 Cincinnati NFL Draft prospects selected in the past two years, but who are the names to know for 2023? With 10 intriguing prospects declaring for the draft from the Bearcats’ roster this season, let’s take a look at the Cincinnati scouting reports for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Cincinnati 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
Arquon Bush, CB
Strengths: Explosive and physical corner with average size. Aggressive, mixes it up with receivers throughout the route, and stays on the opponent’s hip out of breaks. Shows a burst to the ball, can drive out of his plant, and has a nice move to the throw. Tracks the pass in the air and effectively times pass defenses.
Fights and physically beats down opponents to defend passes. Often placed over the opponent’s best receiver, does not back down from a challenge, and remains disciplined with assignments.
Weaknesses: Possesses poor hands for the interception and has a lot of throws slip through. Slowed by blocks and average arm length.
Overall: Bush was a productive cornerback at Cincinnati, who broke up a lot of passes as both a nickel back and the No. 1 at the position. He has a lanky frame that he must fill out, but Bush possesses solid ball skills and showed a lot of improvement in his game last season.
Want more information on Bush? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Arquon Bush, CB, Cincinnati | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Dylan O’Quinn, OL
Strengths: Three-year starter who is experienced at both tackle and guard. Hard-working lineman who gets the most from his ability. Starts with good knee bend, sets with a wide base, and sinks his butt.
Stays square, correctly places his hands into defenders, and controls opponents at the point. Strong enough to turn defenders from the line and open up running lanes. Keeps his head on a swivel, works well with linemates, and quickly picks up assignments.
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Weaknesses: Lacks agility and struggles adjusting. Cannot slide in space and lacks footwork.
Overall: O’Quinn offers solid size and blocking intelligence and works hard, but he lacks athleticism and an upside. His experience at multiple positions on the offensive line could help him latch on as an inexpensive utility blocker.
Ivan Pace Jr., LB
Strengths: Explosive run-and-chase linebacker who began his career at Miami (Ohio). Instinctive, remains disciplined with assignments, and quickly locates the ball handler. Fires up the field making plays, sells out on the blitz, and quickly closes to the action.
Flows well laterally, displays speed in pursuit, and makes the tackle in space. Breaks down well and uses his hands to protect himself. Rarely off his feet. Quick flipping his hips to transition into coverage.
Weaknesses: Must be more disciplined pedaling in reverse. Undersized and gets caught up in the trash. Average ball skills.
Overall: Pace comes off a tremendously productive season that included 137 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks. He’s a fiery and intense LB who flies around the field working to make plays, but he has limitations. Pace lacks great height and is better moving forward and laterally than in reverse. He’s more of a two-down defender, with enough ability to have an impact on the inside of a 3-4 alignment.
Want more information on Pace? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Ivan Pace Jr., LB, Cincinnati | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Ja’Von Hicks, S
Strengths: Tough safety who effectively diagnoses plays. Quick reading the action, fires up the field, and sells out defending the run. Stays with opponents on crossing patterns, keeps the action in front of him, and breaks down well.
Weaknesses: Lacks flat-out speed and struggles getting to the sidelines in time. Slow finding the ball in the air. Average size. Did a bit of arm tackling last season.
Overall: Hicks was a productive two-year starter for Cincinnati, but he lacks next-level speed. He could be used in a zone system, but special teams will be the primary way he ends up on a roster.
James Tunstall, OL
Strengths: Three-year starter who began his college career at Stony Brook. Explosive run-blocking lineman who is best in a small area. Blocks with solid fundamentals, effectively uses his hands, and shows strength at the point. Fires off the snap into blocks, keeps his feet moving, and turns defenders from the action. Stays square and makes proper use of angles in pass protection. Jolts defenders from the action with violent hand punch.
Weaknesses: Lacks footwork off the edge and gets exploited by speed rushers. Struggles to adjust.
Overall: Tunstall is a massive prospect with limited agility and athleticism. He may have to play guard in a power-gap system.
Josh Whyle, TE
Strengths: Athletic pass-catching tight end who plays with good knee bend, blocks with solid fundamentals, and displays terrific vision. Stays square and seals defenders from the action blocking. Agile, easily adjusts to the errant throw, and extends his hands to make the reception away from his frame. Natural pass catcher with soft hands. Possesses solid playing speed and sneaks his way downfield. Tall and easy for the quarterback to locate.
Weaknesses: Slows into blocks, which hurts his ability to finish off defenders. Doesn’t get much movement run blocking. Struggled with foot injuries in the past.
Overall: Whyle bypassed the 2022 draft when he would’ve been a Day 2 selection and returned to somewhat disappointing results. He’s a tall pass-catching TE and a reliable target, but he must improve his blocking strength to be a three-down player at the position.
Want more information on Whyle? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Josh Whyle, TE, Cincinnati | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Leonard Taylor, TE
Strengths: Underrated tight-end prospect with outstanding size and athleticism. Fundamentally sound blocker who stays square and jolts opponents with terrific hand punch. Gets leverage on defenders, turns them from the line to open running lanes, then seals opponents from the action.
Quickly gets out to the second level and works blocks. Comes back into the clearing as a receiver, extends his hands, and snatches the pass out of the air. Adjusts to the errant throw or exposes himself to the big hit and comes away with the tough grab. Sturdy. Possesses eye/hand coordination, long arms, and big hands.
MORE: When Is the 2023 NFL Draft?
Weaknesses: Marginally productive. Was always the No. 2 tight end at Cincinnati. Not a true downfield threat despite his speed.
Overall: Taylor is a hidden gem and a three-down TE who can block or catch the ball. He was constantly overshadowed by his teammate Josh Whyle and played for a quarterback last season who didn’t use the tight ends. Taylor will be a Day 3 pick and, at the very least, should develop into a productive second tight end in the NFL.
Lorenz Metz, OL
Strengths: Massive lineman who lumbers around the field. Patient, stays square, and shows excellent awareness. Keeps his head on a swivel, is always looking for someone to hit, and controls opponents at the point. Starts with good knee bend and mostly blocks with proper pad level. Gets his hands into defenders, keeps his feet moving, and turns opponents from the action.
Weaknesses: Lacks footwork in space and looks as though he’s stuck in cement. Struggles to adjust and cannot block on the move.
Overall: Metz is a size prospect with long arms and a massive frame. He’s a limited athlete whose only possibility is backing up for a power-gap scheme.
Tre Tucker, WR
Strengths: Smallish receiver with excellent speed. Displays a deep burst, tracks the pass in the air, and adjusts to the ball at full speed to make the reception in stride. Extends his hands to grab the ball away from his frame and makes the reception on crossing patterns. Easily adjusts or reaches back to grab the errant throw from the air. Finds the soft spot in the defense and works to make himself an available target.
Weaknesses: Does not display strong hands and has fastballs slip through. Drops a lot of catchable throws.
Overall: Tucker has flashed big-play ability the past two seasons, but at the same time, he has a lot of lapses and too many drops. Tucker’s a slot receiver who offers return possibilities, yet he must consistently catch the ball to make it out of camp this summer.
Want more information on Tucker? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Tre Tucker, WR, Cincinnati | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Tyler Scott, WR
Strengths: Big-play receiver who is a threat to score whenever the ball is in his hands. Very quick, fires off the line of scrimmage, and immediately gets to top speed. Terrific route runner who quickly gets in and out of breaks and separates from defenders. Comes back to the ball, extends his hands, and offers the quarterback a target. Tracks the pass in the air and uses his frame to shield away opponents.
Fights to come away with the contested grab. Lays out or extends to make the catch. Gets vertical over opponents and displays outstanding eye/hand coordination. Displays a sense of timing, has a second gear, and runs away from defenders. Easily makes the reception in stride. Sure-handed.
Weaknesses: Occasionally takes his eyes off the ball, which leads to drops. While he gives effort in battles, he struggles due to his size.
Overall: Scott comes off two outstanding seasons in which he was a threat to take it the distance every time he stepped to the line of scrimmage. Besides being a deep threat, he’s a terrific route runner who catches the ball extremely well but comes with size limitations. Scott can fit a variety of offensive schemes and has the ability to be a very productive third receiver.
Want more information on Scott? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Tyler Scott, WR, Cincinnati | NFL Draft Scouting Report