5 winners and 5 losers from the Cincinnati Bengals’ 2024 NFL Draft class

10 selections from the 2024 NFL Draft have made the Cincinnati Bengals a better football team. But that doesn’t mean everybody on the team wins.

The draft is the powder keg that sets the stage for roster battles all over the depth chart. It’s not just the bottom of the roster players who are affected; the final main phase of player acquisition impacts incumbent starters as well.

Who came out feeling comfortable, and who came out sweating up a storm? Here are the winners and losers from the Bengals’ 2024 draft class.


LG Cordell Volson: It was almost a total win for all three starters for the Bengals’ interior offensive line until center Matt Lee was drafted in the seventh round. Lee isn’t gunning for Volson’s job, and it doesn’t seem like there will be any sort of competition he’ll face for the left guard spot.

Cincinnati has invested two years in making Volson a quality starter. He’s dealt with inconsistencies since taking over as a rookie in 2022, but the team has repeatedly backed him through their inaction at the guard position as a whole.

Barring a surprise Dalton Risner-esque signing, Volsons is very much uncontested to start for a third straight season.

CB DJ Turner II: Another starter who could’ve been significantly challenged was Turner. The former second round pick regressed towards the end of his rookie season last year, and with Chidobe Awuzie gone, it was expected that the Bengals make a notable investment in another cornerback. That investment ended up becoming fifth round pick Josh Newton.

A veteran free agent signing or an earlier draft pick would’ve made for a serious threat to push Turner at the position, but it appears Dax Hill is the only serious candidate to challenge him. Hill has never played outside cornerback extensively.

It’s very safe to project Turner starting without a late free agent addition being announced.

RB Trayveon Williams: It wasn’t a strong running back class by any means, but it was still a bit surprising to see the Bengals completely ignore the position. That’s great news for Williams, whom was re-signed on a one-year deal for the second offseason in a row.

Williams isn’t just one of the main reserves at running back, he’s also positioned to maintain his status as the kickoff returner. The new rules and format of the play definitely favor a running back such as Williams.

It would be shocking if Williams somehow didn’t make it through final cuts.

DT B.J. Hill: Job security was never a question for Hill. One of the main goals of the draft for the Bengals was adding two defensive tackles to the rotation. They accomplished that in drafting Kris Jenkins and McKinnley Jackson in the second and third round, respectively.

Hill, free agent signing Sheldon Rankins, Jenkins, and Jackson give the Bengals four interior players who can play significant snaps out the gate. A deeper rotation with Jenkins and Jackson in the fold will prevent Hill from playing too much. He was at his best when this was the case in 2021.

The Bengals want to see that version of Hill return. They set themselves up nicely to make it happen.

QB Joe Burrow: From free agency to the draft, the Bengals have added five weapons for Burrow to utilize, and they all can contribute towards the same goal: More explosive plays.

Running back Zack Moss is great at pass blocking and turning short runs into longer runs. Wide receiver Jermaine Burton was arguably the most explosive downfield threat in the entire draft. Tight ends Mike Gesicki, Erick All, and Tanner McLachlan each have more speed than any tight end Burrow has previously played with, as well as the ability to work the seams very well.

Oh, and the offensive line added two high-end athletes and a stable starter. All the items on the list have been checked for Burrow to operate an explosive offense once again.


DT Zach Carter: Jenkins and Jackson may not push Carter off the roster completely, but they should already be ahead of him on the depth chart. The fifth defensive tackle on a 53-man roster also rarely suits up for game days.

This was inevitable if the Bengals addressed the position early in the draft. Carter has not shown enough in two years to warrant significant snaps outside of emergency situations. The plan for him transitioning from the edge to inside may’ve hurt him in the long run.

Time is very much running out for the third round pick from just two years ago.

TE Tanner Hudson: The Bengals’ tight end room looks a bit crowded all of the sudden. All and McLachlan were two of the best athletes at the position in the entire class, and if the former is healthy for camp, it wouldn’t be shocking to see both make the team.

That scenario would put Hudson on the outside looking in. The team only offered him a one-year deal worth the veteran minimum, and he was already below Mike Gesicki and Drew Sample on the depth chart.

Hudson can still prove himself like he did last year and stay on the team, but the draft didn’t do him any favors.

OL Jackson Carman, D’Ante Smith and Trey Hill: Let’s just say it: At least two of the three offensive linemen Cincinnati drafted back in 2021 won’t be on the roster in September. Carman, Smith, and Hill are the three in the crosshairs.

Rookies Amarius Mims and Lee have clear paths towards making the team as draftees with supreme athleticism. Mims is set to be the swing tackle (for now) and Lee slides in as Ted Karras’ backup at center. Remember, Hill couldn’t beat out Max Scharping for that job last year, and Scharping is no longer on the team.

Mims and Cody Ford backing up the tackles also means one of Carman or Smith is destined for a pink slip. Three years of not showing much of anything have finally caught up to all of them.

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