NFL Draft: Who could Bengals target in Rounds 2 and 3?

Credit: Paul Sancya

Credit: Paul Sancya

The Cincinnati Bengals addressed one big need with their first-round pick, but now they have three opportunities to fill other holes Friday night over the next two rounds of the NFL Draft.

Cincinnati has an extra third-round, compensatory pick. The Bengals select at No. 49 overall in the second round and at No. 80 and No. 97 in the third round.

First-round pick Amarius Mims will step in as a backup offensive tackle this year and projects as the future starter on the right side, where Trent Brown is only signed through 2024. For a while in the first round, it looked like the Bengals might have a shot to also consider Texas product Byron Murphy, who was considered the top defensive tackle on the board, but he went two picks earlier at No. 16 to Seattle.

Defensive tackle, wide receiver and cornerback remain the most obvious positions of need, though the Bengals could also take a tight end, offensive guard/center or edge rusher if they go best player available and guys they like at the other positions go off the board.

Here are some players the Bengals could land on Day 2 as the second round kicks off at 7 p.m.

Johnny Newton, DT, Illinois

Newton is the third highest-graded player still available on The Athletic “Big Board,” so it seems unlikely he would be available at No. 49, but if he falls far enough, perhaps the Bengals trade up to get him. He’s a bit undersized with a more compact frame than maybe the Bengals need on their interior defensive line, but he is tough to block one-on-one and he’s got natural power and quickness that could make him a good candidate to fill a rotational spot of need.

Kris Jenkins, DT, Michigan

If Newton isn’t available, Jenkins, the son of the former four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle bearing the same name, could be another option. He was near the top of the “Feldman’s Freaks” list in 2023 with a three-cone time of 7.16 seconds, a 9-foot, 8-inch broad jump and a 34-inch vertical to go along with strength and power. Jenkin is a rare talent physically but still light on his feet. He also was a team captain, which the Bengals tend to like.

Ruke Orhorhoro, DT Clemson

Orhorhoro has been projected in a few mock drafts to land with the Bengals, as he pointed out to former Clemson teammate and current Cincinnati edge rusher Myles Murphy. He’s versatile enough to play multiple positions both inside and outside, which could be a plus.

Mason Smith, DT, LSU

At 6-foot-5, 306 pounds, he fits the mold of what the Bengals could be looking at as a big body to plug up holes in the running game. He’s got good size and movement but his inexperience shows some inconsistencies on film. Smith might be an option in the third round, but his size and mobility might make him more highly-coveted.

Roman Wilson, WR, MICHIGAN

The Bengals need a replacement for Tyler Boyd, and Wilson fits the bill as a speedy slot receiver who displays good hands and consistency like Boyd. His speed would also add to the explosiveness of the offense, which is something Cincinnati likes. He’s No. 41 on The Athletic “Big Board.”

Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington

Polk might be the more ideal option as someone who could play the slot this season but also move outside to fill Tee Higgins’ spot if he moves on in 2025. Again, the Bengals love versatility at the receiver position.

Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

A tall, long athlete with speed, Franklin has some versatility to play in the slot or outside but he’s more of a field-stretching receiver. He led the Pac-12 in touchdown catches each of the last two seasons.

Mike Sainristil, CB, Michigan

Sainristil doesn’t have a lot of size, but he’s similar to the makeup of Mike Hilton with toughness, instincts and ball skills, which could make him a good option as a succession plan with Hilton’s contract expiring after this season.

Max Melton, CB, Rutgers

Melton brings explosive speed and energy in pass coverage, and he has experience inside and outside, as well as on special teams. That versatility could be appealing for the Bengals, who need another option at the outside corner spot but also could have future needs inside.

Jackson Powers-Johnson, IOL, Oregon

It seems unlikely the Bengals would go with another offensive lineman this early with the other holes they have, but with Ted Karras on an expiring contract, it wouldn’t be totally shocking for them to take another swing at a position of need for the future.

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