Mega Media Mock Draft: Beat Reporters Weigh In on Bengals’ First 3 Rounds

Four reporters who have covered the Bengals for years make picks from a pre-determined pool of players to predict the team's first three rounds.

CINCINNATI – There are mock drafts. There are media mock drafts. And then there is the Mega Media Mock Draft.

The annual exercise to dive deep into which players the Cincinnati Bengals are most likely to target with their early picks took place Monday, three days shy of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Taking part this year were The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr.,’s Geoff Hobson, Sports Illustrated’s James Rapien, and yours truly.

The thing that makes the Mega Media Mock Draft so interesting and often telling is that everyone makes two first-round picks, with the order proceeding in snake fashion.

Mega Media Mock Draft Plots Path for Bengals

The point is to give readers/listeners/viewers an idea of what the team’s big board might look like, as well as the available pool of players from which they decide.

Taken off the table this year were all quarterbacks, the top three receivers (Marvin Harrison Jr., Rome Odunze, and Malik Nabers), the top three offensive linemen (Joe Alt, Olu Fashanu, and Taliese Fuaga), edge rusher Dallas Turner, and, much to Rapien’s chagrin, tight end Brock Bowers.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Big Board

Rapien won the right to pick first via random draw.

First-Round Picks

Rapien: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

“I think Amarius Mims is the Cincinnati Bengals of choice. I think [JC] Latham will be gone.”

Dehner: Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas

“I don’t think [Murphy] is gonna be there, either, but I have to take my guy Byron Murphy, who I think is the game changer. The idea of Byron Murphy II, Sheldon Rankins, and B.J. Hill working inside, and the idea of Myles Murphy, Sam Hubbard, and Trey Hendrickson working outside with mixing and matching and Lou [Anarumo] getting to cook, they love investing in the defensive line.”

Morrison: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

“I don’t think Murphy is going to be there and I do think Latham will be. It makes too much sense. He’s played right tackle, has played well, and he’s done it in the SEC. The fit is better there with the potential for him to kick inside and compete at guard this year if he can’t beat out Trent Brown, and he’s your right tackle next year.”

Hobson: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

“You’re at 18 and the best corner [Quinyon Mitchell] on the board. That’s gotta make you stop and think. It’s almost like they grab one of those guys, so Baltimore or Pittsburgh doesn’t get him. If you’re gonna be true to your board, I gotta believe the best corner is the best guy there at this point.”

Hobson: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

“The best player on the board right now with Mitchell off is probably Brian Thomas [Jr.]. I don’t think [they trade Tee Higgins if they take him]. I think they keep all of those guys.”

Morrison: Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

“Thomas was going to be my pick had [Hobson] gone a different direction. With Thomas off, I’m gonna stick with getting the right tackle of the future and go with Troy Fautanu. Again, [he has] the versatility to possibly play guard. It’s always felt like offensive tackle was gonna be the first-round pick this year. It still feels like it the closer we get to the draft.”

Dehner: Johnny Newton, DT, Illinois

“I would certainly be considering tracking back with this group remaining because this is the cliff. This is where I’m just filling holes. I’ve already taken Murphy, so Newton is sitting there and looking appetizing at this point compared to some of the other guys.”

MORE: Top DTs in the 2024 NFL Draft

Rapien: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

“If this is the board, it’s not an offensive lineman. I really struggled with them taking a defensive end and using a second consecutive first-round pick on one. I think it has to be Terrion Arnold.”

Second-Round Picks

The ground rules for the second round are that no one can select a player that went in the top 41 of Dane Brugler’s most recent mock draft.

Rapien: Troy Franklin, Oregon

“This is when you really start to look and think ‘weapon.’ By the time you get to 49, you’re going to be going from the beach to Kansas City in December, as far as quality offensive tackles go. [With Troy Franklin], you get all of the Brian Thomas stuff, the downfield threats, the speed after catch, all of those things. He just needs to put on a few pounds, but he’s got the frame for it.”

Dehner: Roman Wilson, WR, Michigan

“I’m a big Roman Wilson guy. When I watch Roman Wilson, what stands out over and over again is I feel like I’m watching what works with Joe Burrow. And that is his awareness off script.”

Morrison: Ricky Pearsall, WR, Florida

“I was going to go Roman Wilson. I like cornerback Mike Sainristil, but I think here you’re looking more for someone who can make an impact right now. I don’t know that [Ricky Pearsall] has a really high ceiling, but he’s going to come in and be a guy they can move around, and he’s got great hands.”

KEEP READING: Top WRs in the 2024 NFL Draft

Hobson: Braden Fiske, DT, Florida State

“You can’t take the best tackle available because there’s nobody there. There’s not a corner here, either. If you’re not careful, you’re gonna end up in a black hole. So give me Fiske. He’s got a lot of speed, he’s athletic, he’s what they need. They’re probably gonna need another D-tackle, so let’s get it out of the way early.”

Third-Round Picks

The rule for this round is players inside the top 65 of Brugler’s mock are not eligible.

Hobson: Caelen Carson, CB, Wake Forest

Morrison: Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington

Dehner: Roger Rosengarten, OT, Washington

Rapien: Brandon Dorlus, DT, Oregon

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!

Listen to the PFN Bengals Podcast

Listen to the PFN Bengals Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Bengals Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Bengals Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.