Three Takeaways From Cincinnati Bengals' 2024 NFL Draft Class

The Bengals added 10 players in this year's draft.
Dec 2, 2023; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jermaine Burton (3) reacts after
Dec 2, 2023; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jermaine Burton (3) reacts after / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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CINCINNATI — The Bengals added 10 players in the 2024 NFL Draft. Here are three takeaways from their draft class:

Trenches and Weapons

I spent most of draft season saying the phrase: "trenches and weapons, weapons and trenches."

The Bengals added five trench players and three weapons for Joe Burrow.

They added two athletic offensive linemen. First rounder Amarius Mims is a freakish human being that should help protect Joe Burrow for a long time. They ended their draft by taking Miami center Matt Lee. He should instantly compete to be Ted Karras' backup. He's a 93rd percentile athlete and is a smaller center, but fared well in pass protection for the Hurricanes.

They added Alabama wide receiver Jermaine Burton in the third round, before taking Erick All and Tanner McLachlan in the fourth and sixth rounds respectively. Three more skill guys that should help bring stablity to their respective rooms.

Burton gives Cincinnati a versatile, explosive weapon. All and McLachlan are the first tight ends that the Bengals have drafted since 2019. Both guys have a chance to make an impact as early as this season.

The Bengals needed to address their defensive tackle room. They did so with Kris Jenkins, who was near the top of their second round board. They followed it up by adding McKinnley Jackson at the end of the third round.

The duo of Jenkins and Jackson gives defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo two key pieces in the middle of his defensive front. They knew they had to add some beef on the interior of their defensive front. They did it with two guys that should play right away.

Big Swings

The Bengals took some big swings in this draft. Mims, Burton and All have high upside. It wouldn't be shocking to see all three players become Pro Bowlers. For Mims, it's all about gaining experience and developing his game.

Burton has maturity questions, but no one questions what he can do on the football field. Is he the next Terry McLaurin or Doug Baldwin? There's a chance he becomes the next great Bengals receiver.

All is a dynamic tight end in the passing game that's capable of blocking at a high level. You don't find many tight ends that can do both—especially in the fourth round. Injuries are the key for the Fairfield High School alum. All says he's fully recovered from back surgery that he underwent in 2022, before transferring to Iowa. All played well for the Hawkeyes last season, but suffered a torn ACL in October. If he can stay healthy, he has a chance to be the best tight end Cincinnati has had since Tyler Eifert. Will he stay healthy? That's a major question, given his injury history.


The Bengals entered the draft with 10 picks. A lot of people expected them to make a trade at some point in the draft. Instead, they stayed pat and stuck to their board.

It was a bit surprising that they waited so long to address the interior of their offensive line. Lee is a quality player that was projected to go earlier than round seven, but the wait was still a surprise.

The Burton pick was the biggest surprise of the draft. Clearly they felt great about the character questions and love what he brings as a player. The other contender for that pick was Washington's Jalen McMillan. Instead of playing it safe, they took a swing on a player with more upside.

It was also surprising to see them pass on running back. There were plenty of day three options on the board, but they didn't seem interested in any of them. Maybe the value didn't line up, but many expected them to take a running back at some point on day three.

Bonus: Top 30 Visits Matter

The Bengals clearly valued their visits this year. They brought in their first five picks for "Top 30" visits prior to the draft. They also brought in seventh rounder Daijahn Anthony for a "Top 30" visit.

Six of their 10 picks were brought to Cincinnati for visits and the Bengals met with all 10 at some point during the pre-draft process. The meetings aren't surprising, but the visits were crucial, especially for the "big swing" prospects like Mims, All and Burton.

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James Rapien


James Rapien covers the Bengals for Sports Illustrated's 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.