Bengals replace departed free agent in first round of latest NFL mock draft

Mar 3, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oregon State offensive lineman Taliese Fuaga (OL24) poses during
Mar 3, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oregon State offensive lineman Taliese Fuaga (OL24) poses during / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals suffered a major loss in free agency, as offensive tackle Jonah Williams signed a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals. Williams was a key part of Cincinnati's offensive line, as he started in 59 games for the Bengals over the past four seasons.

Following Williams' departure, the Bengals could use some added depth on the o-line, and they could potentially find it in the 2024 NFL Draft. In his latest mock draft for ESPN, NFL analyst Mel Kiper sees Cincinnati adding to the offensive line in the first round by selecting Taliese Fuaga from Oregon State.

From Kiper:

"The Bengals let right tackle Jonah Williams leave in free agency, opening up a void at the position. I don't see a replacement on the roster. They could fill it with Fuaga, one of my favorite prospects in this class. He is phenomenal in both the run and pass game, and he started 25 games at RT for the Beavers.

"Cincinnati likely will also have its eyes on the second group of receivers, as it brought back Tee Higgins on the franchise tag but No. 3 wideout Tyler Boyd is still a free agent. Brian Thomas Jr. (LSU) is a potential fit. I also thought about defensive tackle with Byron Murphy II (Texas) still available in this scenario."

Offensive tackle isn't Cincinnati's only position of need heading into the draft, but it is a major one, so it's certainly possible that they could look to grab a player like Fuaga in the first round. It's also possible that they'll go in a different direction with their first pick and then look to address the line in later rounds.

As Kiper mentioned, the team could also look to add a wide receiver given the uncertainty surrounding the future of receivers Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd in Cincinnati. Or, perhaps the team will opt to bolster the defensive line.

They have ample options, and it will be very interesting to see what the Bengals ultimately decide to do on draft day.