Day 3 prospects the Bengals should seriously consider in the 2024 NFL Draft

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Marcus Harris - Defensive Lineman, Auburn

If you polled Bengals' fans asking them to name the team's biggest need outside of the offensive line, they'll likely say the defensive line. Specifically, the interior defensive line. And for good reason too. The unit struggled mightily in 2023 at both stopping the run and generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Most notably, the best player in that group-- D.J. Reader-- ended the season tearing his quad, is turning 30 in 2024, and is on the final year of his contract. There is a very good chance he won't be back.

Even if he is, the Bengals are expected to address the interior defensive line within the first two rounds with names like Jer'Zhan Newton, Byron Murphy, Kris Jenkins, Leonard Taylor, Michael Hall Jr., and Maason Smith projected to go within the first three rounds. However, it wouldn't be a bad idea to double-dip and take another defensive lineman on Day 3 of the draft as well.

That's where Auburn alum Marcus Harris comes in. Harris had an impressive Senior season with the Tigers, setting a career-high in total tackles (40), tackles-for-loss (11), and sacks (7). His pass rush is far from perfect-- if it was he wouldn't be projected to go on Day 3 of the draft-- but he's shown flashes of potential during his time with Auburn and even showed some results his Senior year.

Still, he's said to be an inconsistent pass rusher, but given how Lou Anarumo likes to rotate rookies in and out of the lineup, as we saw this past year with D.J. Turner, Myles Murphy, and Jordan Battle, that might not be too much of a problem and could even benefit the Bengals and Harris himself as he hones his skills and adjusts to the game more and more.

With how underwhelming the depth at the defensive line was last year-- especially in comparison to the 2022 season where it felt like all of those same players stepped up when Reader went down for essentially the first half of the year-- Harris would make a good addition to the locker room.