The Cincinnati Bengals had an incredibly interesting season with a Super Bowl quality roster that failed to make the playoffs. After finishing the season at 9-8, they will pick 18th overall and have the highest draft pick since they selected Ja’Marr Chase at fifth overall in 2020. The real question, what picks will Cincinnati take after not having any huge holes on the roster heading into 2024. Typically in this situation, teams will prepare for create cap casualties as they attempt to retain their elite roster qualities.
As a disclaimer, trades in a mock draft are impossible to predict and therefore I refrain from using them.
Cincinnati Bengals 2024 Mock Draft
18th Overall Pick: J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama
A heavily anticipated cap casualty for Cincinnati in 2024 is their right tackle Jonah Williams. After the signing of high profile left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., Williams was clearly irritated at the prospect of being moved to the right side. He subsequently demanded a trade but was convinced to play out the last year of his contract in Cincinnati. Williams was an adequate tackle on the right side this season but given that back story, I can virtually guarantee that he will be leaving Ohio this offseason.
Latham has a tremendous frame as he is listed at 6’6″ and weighs in at 360 pounds at the right tackle position for Alabama. While his tremendous size would usually institute an elite run blocker with troubling footwork, Latham actually is the opposite as he is renowned for his pass blocking form while he hasn’t given up a sack during the entire 2022 season. That would fit in tremendously with Cincinnati’s offensive philosophy while at that size one would have to believe that teaching him proper technique to dominate in the run game should be fairly straight forward.
It is also important to note that the two players Cincinnati drafted at the right tackle position (Williams and 2009 sixth overall pick Andre Smith) were both products of the University of Alabama. Why go against the grain here in a tremendous draft for offensive tackles. Given that Latham is currently ranked as the fourth best offensive tackle in the 2024 NFL Draft, he most likely will be available at 18th even though he is currently ranked 15th overall (unless there are four offensive tackles picked that early which would be rare).
Cincinnati has struggled to find a consistent option at the right tackle position during the Zach Taylor era after starting a different player at the position in each of the past four seasons. A consistent option at one of the most important positions on the offense would be a huge pick in the first round and would be a huge pick for Cincinnati.
It is important to note that Burrow has taken far too many hits and has suffered from two season ending injuries in his first four seasons in the NFL.
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