NFL draft: Bengals add wide receivers, running back on Day 3

Credit: AJ Mast

Credit: AJ Mast

After going defense with their first three picks, the Bengals took a trio pair of offensive players to start off Day 3 of the NFL Draft.

Cincinnati selected Purdue wide receiver Charlie Jones in the fourth round Saturday, at No. 131 overall, and then added Illinois running back Chase Brown in the fifth round at No. 163 and Princeton wide receiver Andrei Iosivas in the sixth round at No. 206.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Jones could be the slot guy of the future, depending on what happens with Tyler Boyd as he enters the final year of his contract. Jones ran a 4.33 at the Combine and he caught 110 passes for 1,361 yards and 12 touchdowns with three drops in 13 games last season.

Jones, who is 24, began his career at Buffalo in 2017 but redshirted as a freshman and then ended up transferring to Iowa after playing 14 games with one start the following year. He sat out in 2019 due to transfer rules and earned a scholarship as a kick/punt returner.

The Deerfield, Ill., native was the Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year as a junior at Iowa in 2021, leading the conference in kick return yards (635) and leading the FBS in punt returns with 37. But, he had a limited role in the offense, recording just 21 catches in 14 games and nine starts. At Purdue, he immediately became the top target in coach Jeff Brohm’s spread scheme, mainly playing outside, but he projects as a slot in the NFL.

Brown, a 5-foot-9, 209-pound running back from Ontario, Canada, hits a need in a running back room that lost Samaje Perine in free agency. Brown rushed for more than 1,000 yards each of the last two seasons, including 1,643 yards and three touchdowns on 328 carries in 2022. He also added 240 yards on 23 catches.

Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said Brown’s production stood out, but his explosiveness was what drew the Bengals to him initially. That popped out on tape and in how he tested at the Combine when he finished in the top five among running backs in the 40-yard dash, vertical and broad jump, including the best marks in both jumps among his position group.

Cincinnati’s decision to double up at wide receiver came as somewhat of a surprise with the addition of Iosivas, but he’s an incredible athlete with raw skills to develop into a future talent. At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, he’s got size and speed with a 4.43-second 40-yard dash time and a 39-inch vertical jump, and he was the Ivy League MVP in track and field and a team captain.

Iosivas, who is from Hawaii, caught 66 passes for 943 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2022.

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