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By: Drew Garrison
The third-rounder made an impact.
When the Cincinnati Bengals were forced to replace Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates III last offseason, they knew they had Dax Hill in waiting, but after not seeing the field much his rookie year, he was largely an unknown. The other safety spot was an even bigger question mark.
In March, the Bengals signed Nick Scott, hoping he would play the Bell role. They also invested a third-round pick into Jordan Battle out of The University of Alabama.
Scott began the year as the starter, and after an up-and-down first half of the season, Battle started the final seven games. In his time on the field, Battle showed that he was up to the challenge.
Battle played so well that Pro Football Focus’ Thomas Valentine named Battle the Bengals Secret Superstar for 2023.
“Battle was part of the efforts to paper over the cracks in the Bengals safety as the team lost Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell in the offseason”, Valentine wrote. The third-round pick only started seven games for the Bengals, but his impact was felt in every game. Battle’s 82.5 PFF grade was the second-highest among rookie safeties and the 10th-highest in the NFL, and his 81.3 PFF run-defense grade also ranked 10th.”
“Despite being a rookie, Battle became a starter down the stretch, earning a 90.0 PFF grade in the season-finale against the Browns. He’ll continue to shine through as a pivotal player in the secondary.”
Hill’s performance this past season still leaves some questions unanswered, but it appears the strong safety spot is in good hands for years to come.
Originally posted on Cincy Jungle – All Posts