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2024 NFL mock draft roundup: Bengals do a blockbuster with one trade-up scenario

The Cincinnati Bengals pick 18th this year, positioned as one of those points in the opening round that could dramatically swing the entire class based on how many different ways they could go.

Those Bengals could attack the offensive line, either replacing Jonah Williams at right tackle or upgrading the interior. They could go inside or out on a defensive line that was lacking in pass-rush and could miss DJ Reader, too.

Or they could get Joe Burrow another weapon with either a tight end or wideout. Or, perhaps to the frustration of fans, they could invest in the secondary again, perhaps adding a third safety to the rotation while they try to figure things out on the back end.

Given the seemingly endless possibilities, here’s a look at what experts have the Bengals doing in mock drafts right now.

Draft Wire

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Wire’s Curt Popejoy has the Bengals getting a popular theorized pick for the team and one who could start right away with JC Latham out of Alabama:

“The Bengals are in line to lose Jonah Williams but they upgrade here with former Alabama offensive tackle JC Latham.”

ESPN

Craig Strobeck-USA TODAY Sports
Craig Strobeck-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Field Yates provided a new name for the Bengals, getting the team a right tackle prospect with Oregon offensive tackle Taliese Fuaga:

Incumbent starter Jonah Williams will hit free agency in a month, and it’s no surprise the Bengals will continue to address the offensive line this offseason. If you want to get tougher and impose your will more in the run game — and I think the Bengals could use more explosive runs — Fuaga is the man for you. He’s a tone-setter with overwhelming strength at the point of attack and enough suddenness to react in the passing game as a strongside protector for Joe Burrow.

Pro Football Focus

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Pro Football Focus’ Trevor Sikkema who comes through with one of the fan-favorite picks for the Bengals right now by having the team select Joe Burrow’s new tight end with Georgia tight end Brock Bowers:

Bowers’ stock is all over the place. Some have him going No. 5 to the Chargers, while others have him dropping to the end of the top 20.

Still, the Georgia product is one of the best receiving tight ends we’ve seen come through, but I wonder whether the league will be more cautious on first-round tight ends, given how Kyle Pitts has not been given the kind of volume that justifies top-10 value.

Pro Football Network

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network flips to the defensive side of the ball, with the Bengals taking Illinois tackle Jer’Zhan Newton:

There are still a couple of functional right tackle options on the board for Cincinnati, but there aren’t many options whose value matches up to that of Illinois’ Jer’Zhan Newton.

The Bengals have sorely missed having a disruptive presence on the interior D-line since Geno Atkins’ retirement. Newton changes that with his burst and hyper-elite flexibility.

NFL.com

Syndication: Online Athens
Syndication: Online Athens

NFL.com’s Dan Parr gives the Bengals a blockbuster of sorts, making them trade up to No. 12 so that they can secure Bowers:

I know, it never happens. The Bengals haven’t traded up in Round 1 since 1995, when they took Ki-Jana Carter first overall. Well, it’s time to put that streak to an end. The value of a top-five talent at No. 12 is too great for Cincinnati to resist, and the team doesn’t have a tight end under contract for 2024 as of this writing. Denver needs more draft picks, and the Bengals need Bowers.

Yahoo Sports

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Charles McDonald and Nate Tice of Yahoo Sports go back to Fuaga:

Fuaga projects as a versatile lineman who can play guard or tackle at the next level, which would fit well with what the Bengals need up front. Steady offensive line play would take this offense to a new level and keep Burrow upright, which is crucial for the Bengals’ championship hopes.

The Ringer

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The Ringer goes with a completely new name while addressing the interior of the offensive line with center Jackson Powers-Johnson:

I really like this pairing. Powers-Johnson entered the Senior Bowl as a fringe first round player, and his performance there likely vaulted him into an established spot in the first round. Left guard was a huge issue on an otherwise solid Bengals line last season, and I think JPJ can immediately slide into that spot and succeed—while he was a college center, he has NFL guard size at 334 pounds. Powers-Johnson can also be a potential Ted Karras replacement, as the veteran center’s contract is up after the 2024 season.

Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire