Cincinnati Bengals Make Right Decision, Take Amarius Mims in First Round of 2024 NFL Draft

Cincinnati took Amarius Mims with the No. 18 pick.
Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Amarius Mims (65) against
Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Amarius Mims (65) against / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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CINCINNATI — The Bengals made the right decision on Thursday night.

They could've passed on Amarius Mims. Not many people would've blamed them for looking past an offensive tackle with just eight collegiate starts.

Instead, they took an offensive lineman with arguably the highest ceiling in a deep class.

Mims is a freak athlete at 6-7, 340 pounds. He appeared in 30 games at Georgia and his first start was in the College Football Playoff against Ohio State.

“His traits are immeasurable if you've ever seen him walk through a door. There's a lot there to work with that we’re really excited about," Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said. "Just wait until he sits up here and answers questions tomorrow ... He’s impressive. He carries it well. He's got a great personality about him. I think you all are going to really enjoy talking to him, getting to know him. And again, we think he's got a lot of potential.”

Plenty of NFL scouts and personnel believe Mims could end up becoming the best offensive tackle in this class. Better than Joe Alt, JC Latham and Olu Fashanu? Why? Because you can't teach size, strength and athleticism.

"We're all of the opinion that the only reason he's here for us to pick at 18 is probably because of the fact that he only has eight starts," Bengals offensive coordinator Dan Pitcher said. "Had he played this whole season the way he played in the tape we saw, there's a very low chance that we're even having an opportunity to pick him.”

Related: Amarius Mims Film Breakdown and How He Fits Cincinnati Bengals

Mims will work at both tackle spots after playing on the right side at Georgia. How does he fit in the Bengals' pass first offense?

"He has length and he plays with tremendous length. He’s 340 (pounds) but he doesn't look like he's 340," Pitcher said. "He moves a lot better than what you’d expect a player of that weight to move (like). He stays in really good position. He's seemingly unaffected by speed and bull (rushes). He plays under control. He's comfortable. It's all the things that you want to see out of a guy that size to project to being a high end pass protector in the NFL.”

Mims is inexperienced, but that doesn't mean he's a project. The Bengals will likely call on him to play this season. It could be Week 1. Maybe it's Week 10. They like what they saw on tape, even if it's more limited than some of the other prospects in this class.

"With Amarius, we just kept coming back to, it’s maybe not as many snaps, but the snaps that were there, you saw a lot of the things that you want to see," Pitcher said. "You didn't come away from those snaps being like, ‘Man, he left these two or three boxes unchecked.’ We saw enough in that sample size that we feel really good about the pick.”

The Bengals have taken offensive linemen that were considered "safe" picks in the past. Billy Price and Jonah Williams both come to mind. The truth is every draft pick comes with risk. At least in Mims' case, the reward is worth the risk that comes with him—because he has the physical traits to be the Bengals' next great offensive lineman.

There are plenty of people that talk about the "risk" that comes with Mims' inexperience, but if he comes in and works hard, his floor is much higher than most have given him credit for. There aren't many people on the planet built like him. Even if he doesn't come close to hitting his ceiling as a player, he could still be productive in the NFL for a long time. So sure, there's risk, but the risk is worth the reward.

The Bengals are hoping to protect Joe Burrow. They took an freaky-athletic offensive lineman that's inexperienced, but has a chance to be great. That deserves praise, not criticism.

No one knows what the future holds, but the Bengals got it right on Thursday night.

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Published
James Rapien

JAMES RAPIEN

James Rapien covers the Bengals for Sports Illustrated's AllBengals.com and is one-half of the Locked on Bengals Podcast. He's also the co-owner/creator of Cincinnati Bengals Talk on YouTube. He earned a journalism degree from the University of Cincinnati and has spent the majority of his professional career in the Queen City. Rapien previously covered the Cavaliers and Indians in Cleveland. He has a background in radio, which includes stops at 700 WLW, ESPN 1530 and 92.3 The Fan. He loves a good trade rumor and uses copious amounts of hot sauce on his food. Cincinnati chili is his go-to meal, followed by gallons of mint chocolate chip ice cream for dessert. When he isn't working or eating, he's probably walking his dog Finley or spending time with family.