2024 NFL Draft Review: Cincinnati Bengals

Review of all 32 teams draft, with grades and UDFA signings. This time it’s the Cincinnati Bengals.
Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA;  Georgia Bulldogs tackle Amarius Mims is selected as the No. 18 pick
Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; Georgia Bulldogs tackle Amarius Mims is selected as the No. 18 pick / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Previously we reviewed the Chicago Bears draft selections, now it’s time to take a look at how the Cincinnati Bengals drafted and grade the picks. Which player was the best value and earn the team choice award, and who did the team sign during the undrafted free-agent period? Let’s break it all down.

1 (18): T Amarius Mims, Georgia

This is the first offensive lineman the Bengals have drafted in the first round since drafting Joe Burrow and we can imagine how happy he feels right now. It’s true, the floor is extremely low for Mims having played so few snaps in college. But on 319 pass-blocking snaps, he allowed zero sacks and only four total pressures. That’s impressive regardless of the fact it happened over three years. No player in this year’s draft has a wider ceiling-to-floor than Mims. 

Amarius Mims
Ball State v Georgia / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

Grade: B+

(Team Choice Award)

2 (49): DI Kris Jenkins, Michigan

Jenkins is an immediate upgrade for the Bengals defensive line. Sheldon Rankins and BJ HIll have the two main starting positions, but Jenkins skates right in behind the starting tandem to support the line and offer relief without a reduction in production. He doesn’t offer a huge deal as a pass rusher but is willing to put in the effort. His run-stopping ability and raw power is what makes him worthy of such a high draft selection. 

Kris Jenkins
Michigan State v Michigan / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

Grade: B+

3 (80): WR Jermaine Burton, Alabama

Burton’s an explosive downfield threat that makes a lot of sense to add to the Bengals pass catching corps. His broad jump of 133” was 95th percentile and he recorded a vertical of 38½", which ranked in the 82nd percentile. He immediately takes the WR3 spot but keep a close check on him. He comes with questions on maturity and coachability plus there was an incident with a fan at Tennessee. 

Jermaine Burton
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Grade: B

3 (96): DI McKinnley Jackson, Texas A&M

Taking the Aggies nose tackle here was pretty early but it did fill a need. Jackson isn’t going to penetrate the line and get into opposing teams' backfields, but he’s going to crash the line in the middle and get a whole load of run stops. Jackson, however, was predicted as a fifth-round projection. 

McKinnley Jackson
NFL Combine / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Grade: B-

4 (115): TE Erick All, Iowa

With Mike Gesicki and Tanner Hudson ahead of Erick All this means the Bengals drafted their TE3 as of right now. He is a pick aimed toward the future at the position. He only played seven games last season but still scored three touchdowns in that time. This pick is shrouded in questions on durability more than anything else. 

Khris Bogle, Erick All
Michigan State v Iowa / Matthew Holst/GettyImages

Grade: C+

5 (149): CB Josh Newton, TCU

The traits are hard to key in on with Newton but the production is undeniable. 413 pass coverage snaps last year and allowed a 48% completion rate, 303 yards and only one touchdown.

Josh Newton
TCU v West Virginia / G Fiume/GettyImages

Grade: B-

6 (194): TE Tanner McLachlan, Arizona

It’s a double tight end draft for Cincinnati after not drafting a tight end since 2019. Tanner set a new school record, breaking the previous record holder, Rob Gronkowski for receptions by a tight end (75) in a two year span. At the combine he ran an impressive 1.58s 10-yard split (86th percentile) and a 4.61s in the 40 (88th percentile)

Tanner McLachlan, McKel Broussard
UTEP v Arizona / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

Grade: B-

6 (214): EDGE Cedric Johnson, Ole Miss

Johnson is a pretty good pick here with awesome value. In 46 games for the Rebels, Johnson produced 113 total tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 19 sacks and 117 total pressures. 

Cedric Johnson
Mercer v Ole Miss / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Grade: B+

7 (224): S Daijahn Anthony, Ole Miss

It’s an Ole Miss affair going on late in Day 3 for Cincinnati. This looks to be a pick for special team duties. With a 10-yard split of 1.51s, Anthony’s get-off is extremely quick and he can get downfield to any kick returner in a hurry. Anthony also racked up 102 total tackles in three years playing for Ole Miss and Liberty. 

Daijahn Anthony
Ole Miss v Auburn / Michael Chang/GettyImages

Grade: B-

7 (237): C Matt Lee, Miami Fl.

Cincinnati has a competition for the backup center role. Lee is a very reliable pass blocker and on 1,343 pass blocking snaps the last three years he only allowed one sack and three quarterback hits. This is a great upside pick for a center that could develop nicely over the next couple of seasons. 

Matt Lee
Bethune-Cookman v Miami / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Grade: A-

UDFA Signings- 

QB Rocky Lombardi, NIU

Cortland WR Cole Burgess, SUNY

DE Justin Blazek, UW-Platteville

LB Aaron Casey, Indiana

LB Maema Njongmeta, Wisconsin

S Michael Dowell, Miami

P Austin McNamara, Texas Tech

Overall Grade: