3 defensive playmakers Bengals could snag in first round of 2024 NFL Draft

3 defensive playmakers Bengals could snag in first round of 2024 NFL Draft

What will the Cincinnati Bengals do with the 18th overall pick in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft? That’s the biggest question facing the team entering draft day. They could look to add another offensive weapon for quarterback Joe Burrow, or perhaps they’ll look to add a dominant defender. If they go with the latter route, there’s certainly no shortage of options.

Here’s a look at three defensive playmakers that the Bengals could potentially snag in the first round of the draft.

Terrion Arnold, Cornerback, Alabama

The Bengals already have two promising young cornerbacks on the roster in Cam Taylor-Britt and D.J. Turner, but there’s nothing wrong with adding another one to the mix, especially if there’s any organizational doubt regarding the long-term prospects of either Taylor-Britt or Turner.

Alabama product Terrion Arnold is one of the best cornerback prospects in the entire draft, and his addition would certainly work to bolster the secondary in Cincinnati. Arnold had 63 total tackles for the Crimson Tide last season, and he also added five interceptions and a forced fumble. That’s some solid turnover creation.

Arnold might need a little time to adapt to playing at the professional level, but the Bengals could bring him along slowly with the other guys also on the roster. So, don’t sleep on him as a potential first round selection for Cincinnati.

Byron Murphy II, Defensive tackle, Texas

The Bengals definitely need some help on the defensive line, and many expect them to address the position in the first round of the draft. If they do, Byron Murphy II out of Texas could prove to be an ideal addition. Here’s what ESN’s Field Yates had to say about Murphy in a recent mock draft:

“. . . and Murphy is the best defensive tackle in the class. He is explosive as a pass-rusher and he plays with power, torque and leverage in the running game.”

That sounds exactly like a skill set that the Bengals need. Murphy compiled 70 total tackles and eight sacks during his three seasons at Texas. He was named First-team All-Big 12 and Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2023, and he projects as a player who could make an immediate impact in the pros. though the Bengals could probably bring him along slowly thanks to the addition of Sheldon Rankins. Overall, Murphy would make a lot of sense as a first round selection for Cincinnati.

Jared Verse, Defensive end, Florida State

Another option on the defensive line that the Bengals could take in the first round is Jared Verse from Florida State. Verse was a sack machine during his two seasons with the Seminoles, as he had nine sacks in both campaigns. He also had a total of 29.5 tackles for a loss, which shows how well he can penetrate into a backfield.

Verse was also named an All-American and All-ACC in both seasons as he established himself as one of the better edge rushers in college football. The Bengals could certainly use his skill set, as they were in the bottom half of the league last season in team sacks with 44. There’s a real chance that Verse will be available when the Bengals are on the clock, and if he is, he could be a smart selection.

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