3 underrated needs for the Bengals heading into the 2024 offseason

Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs
Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
2 of 3


After an impressive end to his shortened rookie year, Nebraska alum Cam Taylor-Britt proved he is a CB1 in his sophomore season, grabbing four interceptions, having 11 passes defended, and allowing just a 78.0 passer rating when targeted -- not to mention locking down several solid to great wide receivers throughout the season. It's a good thing that Taylor-Britt is so good because there are plenty of doubts about the cornerback position outside of him and Mike Hilton.

After missing the second half of the 2022 season with an ACL tear, Chidobe Awuzie took a major step back this year. He found himself constantly getting beat and unable to keep up after suffering one of the hardest injuries to come back from. To make matters worse, this was the last year of his contract. Given he had a down year after a serious injury and is approaching age 30, chances are he goes unsigned by Cincinnati.

Rookie DJ "JuanDrago" Turner has flashed a lot of promise this year, however, his size does limit him and he did have a string of rough performances this year when Taylor-Britt was lost to injury for a few weeks, most notably against the Vikings when it felt like Nick Mullens was constantly targeting whoever he was lined up against, and that seemed to work every time. With Awuzie having dropped off and likely gone this offseason, and DJ Turner still young and largely inexperienced, targeting an appropriate cornerback to line up opposite Taylor-Britt should be one of the front office's many priorities.

There are a few names in the draft that stick out to me, namely Cooper DeJean and Nate Wiggins, either of whom could potentially be there at the 18th pick of the draft for the Bengals to select. If they don't want to spend a first-rounder on a CB and instead target one of their bigger needs (such as DT Jer'Zhan Newton or OT Taliese Fuaga), there are a few interesting prospects that could be taken with their second-round pick, such as Toledo's Quinyon Mitchell or Auburn's D.J. James.

And if the Bengals want a proven veteran, there's plenty of those in free agency. Jaylon Johnson is a player who draws a lot of interest, though his $15.7 million per year projected contract might be too much for the front office to shell out. Some cheaper options would be Dane Jackson, Levi Wallace, or potentially reuniting with Eli Apple.