3 Bengals rookies who could have a big impact in 2024

2023 SEC Championship - Georgia v Alabama
2023 SEC Championship - Georgia v Alabama / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
2 of 2

Jermaine Burton, Wide receiver

Tyler Boyd is gone, so even if Tee Higgins remains in Cincinnati for the 2024 season, the Bengals will need someone to step into that No. 3 receiver role, and it could be rookie Jermaine Burton. After an impressive collegiate career, the Bengals selected Burton in the third round of the draft to add some depth to the position and give Joe Burrow another weapon to work with.

Burton has already impressed at OTAs, and he could potentially snag a starting spot if the rest of his summer goes well enough. Even if he's not a starter right away, Burton should still see plenty of opportunity to make an impact. Burton's versatility should help generate opportunities for him, too.

"I'm actually comfortable playing both inside and outside. I'm versatile and can do a lot of great things to help the team," Burton said after the draft. "I just can't wait to put my talent first and go head in."

Tanner McLachlan, Tight end

The Bengals are suddenly pretty deep at the tight end position. They brought back both Drew Sample and Tanner Hudson and signed Mike Gesicki in free agency. The team then drafted two TEs in Erik All and Tanner McLachlan. So, the competition for the position will be one of the team's most intriguing over the summer.

The Bengals selected McLachlan in the sixth round of the draft, and many experts, including ESPN’s Field Yates, viewed it as a value pick.

“McLachlan was one of my favorite sleepers in the class and my 113th-ranked player,” Yates wrote of the pick. “He has excellent size (6-foot-5, 244 pounds) and is an instinctive/smooth route runner with really good skills after the catch. Cincinnati was a rare team that leaned on a legitimate rotation of tight ends in 2023 (four consistently saw playtime), and McLachlan figures to be a part of something similar, with Mike Gesicki and fellow draftee Erick All also with the Bengals this season.”

With such a deep roster of tight ends in Cincinnati, playing time won't be guaranteed for McLachlan. But, if he has a solid summer and establishes himself as a legitimate target for Burrow, he could crank the regular rotation for the 2024 season.