Daniel Jeremiah Says Popular Bengals Mock Target Could Be a Pipe Dream

Byron Murphy and T'Vondre Sweat are two popular mock targets for the Bengals, and NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah has thoughts on their fits.

CINCINNATI – While NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah fielded only one question directly related to the Cincinnati Bengals during a nearly two-hour conference call on Wednesday, several others dealt with topics significant to Duke Tobin’s draft board.

Specifically, the possible rise and likely fall of a pair of defensive tackles linked to the Bengals.

One of the most popular picks for Cincinnati at No. 18 is Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy II.

Daniel Jeremiah Has Bengals DT Fits Rising, Falling

If the Bengals pivot from their expected target of an offensive tackle, Murphy makes the most sense. He’s not the prototypical nose tackle that DJ Reader was, but Murphy is the near-consensus top defensive tackle available, and his run-stopping ability isn’t that far behind his impressive, disruptive skills as a pass rusher.

As Jeremiah sees it, Murphy might be too good of a prospect for the Bengals.

Or, more accurately, too good for pick No. 18.

“If you ask me who the surprise top 10 pick is or somebody we just didn’t see coming, to me that’s Byron Murphy II,” Jeremiah said.

Part of that has to do with his skills, but the bigger piece is how valuable that position is becoming across the league.

Look at the contracts the defensive tackles who just signed this offseason have received.

  • Chris Jones: five years, $158.8 million
  • Christian Wilkins: four years, $110 million
  • Justin Madubuike: four years, $98 million
  • Derrick Brown: four years, $96 million
  • DeForest Buckner: two years, $46 million

“It’s a league that’s placed an ever-more premium on defensive tackles,” Jeremiah said. “I was talking to a general manager this morning and asked, ‘If you look around the league, who are the true impact-dominant defensive tackles?’ There may be seven or eight of them.

“Edge rushers go a lot deeper than that,” he added. “There are some interesting names you could go after the first round at the edge rusher position. It falls off pretty quick at defensive tackle.”

Even if Murphy lasts into the teens, he may not get to No. 18 because Jeremiah said some teams would like to jump in front of the Bengals.

“If Murphy starts to drive, an obvious target to go up would be the [Los Angeles] Rams,” Jeremiah said, referring to the team slotted one spot behind Cincinnati at No. 19. “I have him as 19 (on the big board), but it wouldn’t shock me if he goes top 10.”

The other defensive tackle from Texas, T’Vondre Sweat, is moving in the opposite direction.

Viewed by most as the best nose tackle in the draft, the 6’4”, 366-pound Sweat was arrested for DWI last week.

Jeremiah originally had Sweat outside of his top 50 prospects. Cincinnati has pick No. 49.

After the arrest, how far will Sweat fall?

“I think it’s gonna be different around the league,” Jeremiah said. “The answer to that question has to do with — whether people agree with it or not — is how good of a football player do you think he is.”

Sweat already raised red flags when he refused to weigh in at the Senior Bowl, but the DWI arrest is an even bigger issue teams have to consider.

“It’s just terrible judgment, and there’s immaturity in there as well,” Jeremiah said. “Look, if you think he’s a great player, you’d be spending a lot of time on Zoom with him right now with different members of your organization from coaches and personnel staff and security folks. You name it. You’re going to be all kinds of homework to try and get comfortable with him if you like him.

KEEP READING: Daniel Jeremiah Talks Bengals, Brock Bowers, a Home-Run Pick at 18, and Day 2 Tackles

“If you didn’t like him, he’s gonna get pushed so far down,” Jeremiah continued. “I’d be shocked if he went in the second round. To me, the third round would be the earliest I could see him going, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he didn’t go somewhere on Day 3.”

The Bengals have built their roster on the backs of high-character, football-loving players who often were captains on the college teams. Sweat doesn’t fit the mold, but he is one of the few players who can fill their biggest need.

It only takes one team to look the other way, and if the Bengals wait until the fourth round, that could be too late. They have two picks in the third round at Nos. 80 and 97.

Blue chips often outrank red flags in the NFL. But not in Cincinnati, at least not lately. And Sweat is far from a blue-chip prospect.

How long Sweat sweats waiting to hear his name might be one of the more intriguing storylines of this year’s draft.

Miss football? The 2024 NFL Draft is almost here, boss. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s all-new Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls — lone wolf or with your friends!

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