Cincinnati Bengals 7-Round 2024 NFL Mock Draft: Will Surprise Trey Hendrickson Trade Request Impact Team’s Direction?

The trenches remain a focus for the Bengals, as does stacking depth with an eye on 2025 beyond in Jay Morrison's final mock draft of 2024.

CINCINNATI – Draft Day is here, but before things become official, let’s take one last stab at predicting the path for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Tee Higgins and Trey Hendrickson have requested trades, but don’t look for the Bengals to acquiesce this weekend.

Cincinnati Bengals 2024 Draft Picks

And while it would be surprising to see the team go through the weekend without trading picks, we’ll play this one straight and keep all 10 selections in place.

Other team trends — doubling up at a position and selecting college teammates — will continue in this mock.

Bengals 7-Round 2024 NFL Mock Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 18: JC Latham, OT, Alabama
  • Round 2, Pick 49: Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington
  • Round 3, Pick 80: Braden Fiske, DT, Florida State
  • Round 3, Pick 97: T’Vondre Sweat, DT, Texas
  • Round 4, Pick 115: Tanor Bortolini, C, Wisconsin
  • Round 5, Pick 180: Jared Wiley, TE, TCU
  • Round 6, Pick 194: Carson Steele, RB, UCLA
  • Round 6, Pick 214: Darius Muasau, LB, UCLA
  • Round 7, Pick 224: Myles Cole, EDGE, Texas Tech
  • Round 7, Pick 237: Josh DeBerry, CB, Texas A&M

Round 1, Pick 18: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

The Bengals did what they had to do in free agency by securing Trent Brown on an affordable one-year, $4.8 million deal, but that in no way alters the urgency to find a right tackle of the future.

And waiting until No. 49 to accomplish that mission is too big of a gamble, given the cliff that exists between the top tackles in this draft class and the next tier.

JC Latham, who at 6’6” and 340 pounds fits the template of the bigger frames the Bengals are using to contract Joe Burrow’s protection, will have every chance to unseat Brown from his assumed role as the starting RT. Even if that doesn’t happen immediately, the Alabama product still could find himself in the Week 1 starting lineup.

The Bengals are still trying to get more out of left guard Cordell Volson as he enters Year 3. If that’s slow to happen in training camp, Latham could steal the job for a year before kicking out to right tackle — where he started 27 games for Alabama — starting in 2025.

Round 2, Pick 49: Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington

As the draft nears, it should be growing ever clearer the Bengals have no intention of trading Higgins — but just as unlikely is signing him to an extension.

The 6’1″, 203-pound Ja’Lynn Polk isn’t a newer model Higgins, but he still has good size, and his versatility makes him a good fit to help head coach Zac Taylor and offensive coordinator Dan Pitcher move around Ja’Marr Chase much more.

Polk can fill the role of Tyler Boyd’s replacement in the slot this year, but he also can line up outside, presumably his main role after Higgins departs.

Round 3, Pick 80: Braden Fiske, DT, Florida State

As was the case with right tackle, the Bengals supplement the shorter-term answer they addressed in free agency with a player who can man a key position for the next several years.

Sheldon Rankins is under contract for two seasons, and B.J. Hill has one year remaining on his.

Braden Fiske transferred from Western Michigan after the 2022 season and got even better playing against Power Five competition, including a three-sack, 4.5-tackle-for-loss performance in the ACC Championship Game to help cap the Seminoles’ undefeated regular season.

A 6’3″, 297-pounder, Fiske has a 9.9 Relative Athletic Score (RAS) and gives defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo plenty of options when it comes to rotational packages.

Round 3, Pick 97: T’Vondre Sweat, DT, Texas

The DWI arrest may have led some teams to take T’Vondre Sweat off their boards, but not all of them. The question was how far the top 50 prospect would fall.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said he thought it could be all the way to the fourth round, but the Bengals stop the slide here and get the best nose tackle in the draft more than 50 spots lower than where they were initially projected to target him.

The Bengals roll the dice on a strong locker-room culture helping Sweat mature, as the team leans into one of its signature draft moves by doubling up at a position by taking Fiske and Sweat with back-to-back picks.

Round 4, Pick 115: Tanor Bortolini, C, Wisconsin

The theme of building for the future and starting with the trenches continues.

Ted Karras is entering the final year of his contract, and even if the Bengals end up re-signing him, adding depth to the interior of the offensive line should be a priority in this draft.

Tanor Bortolini recovered from a 2021 knee injury to start 22 games the last two seasons, making the transition from guard to center. That versatility will serve him well at the next level, especially in Cincinnati where the depth chart needs a boost at those two spots.

Round 5, Pick 149: Jared Wiley, TE, TCU

Friday will be the five-year anniversary of the Bengals drafting Drew Sample, a move that started the clock on a 1,828-day drought without drafting another tight end.

Jared Wiley’s 6’6”, 249-pound frame will make him an attractive target for Burrow in the red zone.

While free agent tight end Mike Gesicki lines up in the slot 70% of the time, Wiley, a transfer from Texas, did the opposite at TCU, lining up inline 67% of the time.

Round 6, Pick 194: Carson Steele, RB, UCLA

The volume dipped when Carson Steele transferred from Ball State to UCLA, but the efficiency remained about the same as he went from averaging 5.4 yards per carry in the MAC to 5.1 in the Pac-12.

MORE: How the Bengals Changed Their Scouting Process Ahead of 2024 NFL Draft

The Bengals are set with their top tandem of Chase Brown and Zack Moss, but the competition will be wide open for the RB3 spot, which currently belongs to Trayveon Williams.

Steele also has a role in the passing game, averaging 9.6 yards per reception at UCLA.

Round 6, Pick 214: Darius Muasau, LB, UCLA

The Bengals re-signed Akeem Davis-Gaither and Joe Bachie to help fill out the depth chart behind starters Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt, as well as special teams.

But Darius Muasau could push Davis-Gaither and Bachie for a special-teams role right way or slot into another developmental piece as Cincinnati continues to use this draft to focus on 2025 and beyond.

Round 7, Pick 224: Myles Cole, EDGE, Texas Tech

Set to turn 24 on Tuesday, Myles Cole is one of the older players in this draft class. But at 6’6”, 278 pounds, he has the kind of length the Bengals often target with their edge rushers.

KEEP READING: Trey Hendrickson Landing Spots

The front office isn’t going to blink after Hendrickson’s trade request, but the possibility of a holdout exists, and Cincinnati could use some depth when it comes to edge rushers.

Round 7, Pick 237: Josh DeBerry, CB, Texas A&M

Taking a corner early certainly was in play, but the board didn’t fall right. Josh DeBerry can follow the track of last year’s seventh-round pick, DJ Ivey, who was growing into a special-teams role when he tore his ACL in December.

DeBerry will have a year to develop and see if he can emerge as an option to play in the slot in 2025 after Mike Hilton leaves.

Previous Mock Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 18: Johnny Newton, DT, Illinois
  • Round 2, Pick 57: Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington
  • Round 3, Pick 80: Roger Rosengarten, OT, Washington
  • Round 3, Pick 89: Austin Booker, Edge, Kansas
  • Round 3, Pick 97: Mike Sainristil, CB, Michigan
  • Round 4, Pick 115: Theo Johnson, TE, Penn State
  • Round 6, Pick 194: Hunter Nourzad, C, Penn State
  • Round 6, Pick 214: Isaac Guerendo, RB, Louisville
  • Round 7, Pick 224: Ryan Flournoy, WR, SE Missouri State
  • Round 7, Pick 237: Logan Lee, DT, Iowa

Draft with your friends today! PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator now supports multiple drafters during the same draft! Find out how the PFN Scouting Department ranks this year’s prospects with our 2024 NFL Draft Big Board and follow along throughout the draft with our NFL team needs tracker.

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