3 positions Bengals could take in first round of 2024 NFL Draft (and 2 to avoid)

  • Focus on: OT, WR, DL
  • Avoid: IOL, RB

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Take: Offensive Tackle

With how inconsistent the O-line has been this year, flipping like a switch between dominant and dominated, it doesn't hurt to target one in the first round of next year's draft, especially given the fact Burrow has suffered another season-ending injury. The Bengals should go tackle this year, even if the interior offensive line has looked far more suspect this year.

While they do have Orlando Brown Jr. locked down at the left tackle position for the foreseeable future, there is a good chance that Jonah Williams won't be re-signed this off-season after having a solid bounce-back year following an abysmal one in 2022. According to Spotrac, his market value is estimated to be at around $15 million a year.

With Joe Burrow's record-breaking contract soon to kick in, Chase's extension on the horizon, and the front office having already invested $64 million over four years in Brown, I doubt they will pay that much to retain him. Some teams are desperate for a good tackle and wouldn't hesitate to pay that money for Williams. So, Cincy will need a replacement right tackle come late April.

The good news is this is a deep tackle class. According to some CBS Sports mock drafts, there are 7-8 offensive tackles projected to go in the first round. So, while the Bengals may not be able to get the top guys like Joe Alt, Olumuyiwa Fashanu, and JC Latham with a spot in the mid-late teens, they could end up being in the position to take Amarius Mims out of Georgia or Taliese Fuaga from Oregon State.

My only issue with this is that Cincy hasn't had the best reputation for drafting and developing offensive linemen in the last few years. Jackson Carman and Billy Price in particular stand out. This plays into my first avoid on the list.