Bengals’ NFL Draft gamble gets compelling take from anonymous NFL exec

The Bengals have some studs from the Draft… but they come with their own baggage as well.

Bengals' NFL Draft gamble gets compelling take from anonymous NFL exec
Bengals’ NFL Draft gamble gets compelling take from anonymous NFL exec
The Cincinnati Bengals have some big needs to fill for the 2024 season. Some of these are existing woes (their shoddy offensive line), while others are needs that came about during the offseason. They did address those needs in the draft: Amarius Mims for their offensive line, Kris Jenkins headlining their additions for the defensive line, and a wide receiver in Jermaine Burton. On paper, these seem like good picks.However, some analysts believe that the Bengals’ draft class is a big gamble. The Athletic’s Mike Sando talked with an anonymous NFL exec that noted the risks that Cincinnati were taking during the draft. They were taking high-upside players that came with some red flags in different forms.

“I do think there is a heightened risk aspect to their (Bengals’) picks. (Kris) Jenkins offsets the risk some. He is going to be really solid. Amarius Mims is talented, and when he plays, he’s good, but eight career starts?”

Sando also commented on the Bengals’ Burton pick. The analyst seemed to like the pick, noting that Burton’s speed and hands makes him a perfect #3 to Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.

“Burton is going to be a sneaky good player,” an exec told Sando. “He’s fast, he’s strong after the catch, he has a little dog to him. They do a good job getting those types of players established.”

The Bengals are looking to bounce back after a rather disappointing 2023 season. They are coming into the year with a few missing pieces and some pieces that are question marks for the future. How will their rookies contribute to the playoff chase.

Red flags for Bengals’ rookies

Georgia offensive lineman Amarius Mims (OL50) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The first pick for the Bengals in the 2024 NFL Draft was Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims. Mims is a physical freak: at 6’8, he joins Cincinnati’s other behemoths at tackle in Orlando Brown Jr and Trent Brown. The upside is certainly there, but there are also some serious red flags. Mims barely played in college, starting in only eight games. There are also some injury concerns about the star tackle (contributing to his sparse starts).

As for Burton, the former Alabama and Georgia product is a speedster on the field. His speed and ability to separate make him a potentially elite deep threat. That’s perfect for Joe Burrow’s gunslinging style. That being said, there’s a reason why Burton fell all the way to the third round. There were some serious character concerns about the ex-Bulldog, with incidents even happening in his senior year.

Even their fourth-round pick, TE Erick All, has some serious issues with his health as well. Risk seems to be the running theme for Cincinnati in this draft. The Draft has always been a crapshoot, but the Bengals took that risk-taking to the extremes in this draft.

If these risks work out in their favor, then the Bengals might just have an all-time draft in their hands. Burton, in particular, seems to be the pick that pundits are honing in on as the “pivot” point of the draft. With Higgins’ impending exit, Burton’s performance this year could be the decider on whether the team keeps Tee or lets him walk.

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