NFL Draft primer: Bengals' defense needs upgraded in attempt to return to Super Bowl

2023 record: 9-8, missed playoffs

Draft picks per round

1st round: No. 18
2nd round: No. 49
3rd round: No. 80
3rd round: No. 97 (compensatory)
4th round: No. 115
5th round: No. 149
6th round: No. 194
6th round: No. 214 (compensatory)
7th round: No. 224
7th round: No. 237

(Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)
(Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)

Top needs

Offensive line
Defensive tackle

Offensive line has been an ongoing project for the Bengals, and they’re still in need of some upgrades there. The defense also needs to get better. Losing D.J. Reader in free agency leaves a hole in the middle of the defensive line.

Best first-round fits

Taliese Fuaga, OL, Oregon State

Best Day 2 fits

Max Melton, CB, Rutgers
Blake Fisher, OL, Notre Dame

How they did last draft

The Bengals got a B, and while no rookies had a huge impact there were plenty of contributors. First-round pick Myles Murphy had three sacks in a backup role, but second-round pick DJ Turner became a regular starter at cornerback.

Dream fantasy draft pick

It is certainly in Joe Burrow's best interests for this team to beef up its offensive line in the draft, so let's assume that's happening. But it would also be a win for Burrow if Cincinnati identified a receiving threat to absorb some of these potentially vacated Tee Higgins targets. No matter which receiver the Bengals grab – Roman Wilson? Xavier Legette? – that guy will get plenty of fantasy buzz. — Andy Behrens