The Cincinnati Bengals‘ 2023 NFL Draft class appears to be very promising, and one player stood above the rest of his peers. Bengals safety Jordan Battle was named to the 2023 Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team.
He’s the first Bengals defensive rookie honoree since safety Jessie Bates III was named to the 2018 squad. Battle was selected by the Bengals with the 95th overall pick in the third round of last year’s draft.
It looked like a pure value pick following the team signing Nick Scott in free agency to start next to Dax Hill, but defensive coordinator could hardly contain his praise after drafting him out of Alabama. “He’s very rarely out of position,” Anarumo said following the pick last April.
“You can see him communicating back there, which is important. Gets guys on the ground. And then the character is off the charts.”
Anarumo’s praise was warranted as Battle eventually emerged as Cincinnati’s most consistent player at the position.
The PFWA All-Rookie Team pic.twitter.com/VdZs6SRWaK
— Brooks Kubena (@BKubena) January 23, 2024
He appeared in all 17 games (seven starts) for the Bengals this year, recording 43 solo tackles, two sacks, and an interception. Pro Football Focus also named Battle to their 2023 All-Rookie team.for grading out at 82.5, the highest grade out of all rookie safeties.
It’s a major relief that Battle provided dividends so quickly as questions and concerns will once again surround the Bengals’ safety room this offseason.
Scott is a potential cap casualty, and Hill needs to establish himself as a quality starter. Battle’s role will only grow as Anarumo and Co. figure out how to fit the pieces around him.