Cincinnati Bengals 2024 Draft Grades

The Cincinnati Bengals went into the weekend needing help along trenches on both sides of the ball after those areas were exposed last season. Now that the dust has settled from the NFL Draft in Detroit, it seems the orange and black understood the assignment as they focused heavily on the offensive and defensive line with their 10 picks. So, without further ado, let’s award some grades for the Bengals 2024 draft class.

Cincinnati Bengals Draft Grades: Operation Trench Warfare

First Round (18th Overall): Amarius Mims, OT

When six quarterbacks were taken prior, this opened the door for Mims to be available at 18 and the Bengals wasted no time in grabbing the former Georgia product. The measurables for Mims are elite as he has 11 1/4″ hands, and is 6’8″ with 340 pounds of pure athleticism.  Look for Cincinnati to slowly bring him along on both sides, as he will likely be featured in some heavy formation packages to help get his feet wet. The Bengals have had trouble protecting Joe Burrow since he arrived and this may go a long way to help remedy that.

Grade: A

Second Round (49th Overall): Kris Jenkins, DT

If protecting Burrow was plan 1A, stopping the run and was closely behind at 1B for Cincinnati. Enter Kris Jenkins from Michigan who the Bengals were praying was there at 49. Jenkins is well-equipped for the big-boy football he’ll see in the AFC North. This is evidenced by the NFL bloodlines from his father, a former four-time Pro Bowl DT, and his fantastic playing career for the Maize and Blue. His relentless motor and quick hands will help him fight off blocks at the next level.

Grade: B+

Third Round (80th Overall): Jermaine Burton, WR

The biggest character risk player in the Zac Taylor era and one that may pay the biggest reward is Alabama wide receiver Jermaine Burton. The Bengals did a ton of work on Burton in the draft process and he’s been training with former Bengal T.J. Houshmandzadeh as the team felt comfortable taking him at 80th overall. Burton may have been a late first-round player without the character concerns as he has fantastic speed, hands, and route-running ability. If the solid culture that Taylor built can help Burton stay straight, Cincinnati may have one of the steals of the draft.

Grade: B

Third Round (97th Overall): McKinnley Jackson, DT

The Bengals double-dip at defensive tackle in the first, three rounds and this is a player we think they could have taken later than 97th overall in McKinnley Jackson from Texas A&M. Jackson is a one-trick pony in the sense he’s a pure run clogger and space eater. His size, measurables, and Relative Athletic Score (RAS) are eerily similar to DJ Reader. That being said, he still has work to do with his technique and standing firm against better offensive linemen.

Grade: C

Fourth Round (115th Overall): Erick All, TE

Another prospect the Bengals may have been able to take a round later is tight end and Cincinnati native, Erick All from Iowa. While he does come from TE University that has produced Dallas Clark, George Kittle, T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant, and Sam LaPorta, All has had major back surgery and is coming off an ACL tear he suffered last season. Cincinnati is banking on All’s agility, varied route tree, and pass-catching ability meshing with Burrow for years to come.

Grade: C+

Fifth Round (149th Overall): Josh Newton, DB

Josh Newton was a sneaky-good pick with great value at 149 overall. The TCU Horned Frog has solid ball skills and is very reactive when the ball is in the air. The majority of his snaps came in press-man coverage and could end up seeing playing time in 2024.

Grade: B

Sixth Round (194th Overall): Tanner McLachlan, TE

Tanner McLachlan is an older prospect with great size and instincts who has a big fan in Daniel Jeremiah from NFL Network. McLachlan also has good hands and plays with a competitive fire that will make it interesting to watch in training camp when the pads come on.

Grade: B

Sixth Round (214th Overall): Cedric Johson, EDGE

The first Ole Miss Rebel the Bengals took is EDGE Cedric Johnson who passes the test from a build perspective when you watch the tape. He does play with good bend and has a powerful punch that will help him immensely in the NFL. Johnson needs to vary his rush moves and play with better instincts at times if he wants to stick around.

Grade: C+

Seventh Round (224th Overall): Daijahn Anthony, DB

Johnson’s teammate at Ole Miss Daijahn Anthony was the Bengals’ selection at 224 overall. He is a hard hitter with good length and high-end speed to go with his above-average instincts. Johnson’s biggest downfall is his propensity to play with stiff hips and is often slow to locate the football. These are the two issues the coaching staff will address early on for Anthony to help him start on the right track.

Grade: C

Seventh Round (237th Overall): Matt Lee, C

Our second favorite pick behind Mims is former Miami Hurricane and center, Matt Lee. Even though the Bengals have Ted Karras holding down the fort, this is a pick that screams for the future. Lee has great technique and is fantastic in pass protection mostly based on his exceptional core strength. He is rarely knocked off his base and can withstand a punch from larger players. Look for Lee to make the team and potentially be the successor to Karras next season.

Grade: B+

*Stats and research provided courtesy of

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