NFL draft: Who might Bengals target in Rounds 2-3?

Credit: Butch Dill

Credit: Butch Dill

While a lot of local Cincinnati Bengals fans and Notre Dame supporters might have been disappointed the team didn’t select tight end Michael Mayer in the first round, he’s still available heading into Day 2 of the NFL Draft.

The Bengals likely would have to offer a generous trade to move high enough in the second round to get him, as they would be asking a team to move down to No. 60 and Mayer was projected to go as high as 13th and at No. 21 on a consensus mock draft.

But this tight end class is considered deep and there could be a lot of other options later and even in the third round. Cincinnati also could be targeting a cornerback, running back or right tackle over the second and third rounds. Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. (consensus No. 14, peak No. 5) is still on the board but doesn’t seem a good fit.

Here are some options that might be available to the Bengals at No. 60.


Luke Musgrave, Oregon State

Musgrave is a good athlete who presents mismatch problems for a defense because of his size and speed, he is an above-average run-blocker and has a ton of upside as a pass-catcher despite what his numbers suggest in college. He played just two games in 2022 but turned 11 catches into 169 yards and a touchdown and he came back from injury to play well at the Senior Bowl.

Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia

Washington went under the radar at Georgia behind Brock Bowers, but even as a rotational tight end for the Bulldogs, he flashed receiving ability with 28 catches for 454 yards and two touchdowns and was a tremendous blocker, helping to open holes in the ground game and to protect quarterback Stetson Bennett.

*If those two, and Mayer, aren’t available in the second round, there should be decent guys in the third round, so it would make sense to go with a better value pick.

Credit: Ashley Landis

Credit: Ashley Landis


Kelee Ringo, Georgia

Ringo, at 6-foot-1, 207 pounds, has excellent size with height and length that makes it difficult for quarterbacks to pass around him, and he’s also got superb straight-line speed to keep up with fast receivers trying to beat him down the sideline. In 2022, he recorded 42 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass breakups while helping the Bulldogs to a second straight national title.

DJ Turner, Michigan

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler calls Turner “a twitchy and active athlete” with “above-average speed and transition quickness to match up with NFL receivers in man coverage.” He played on the perimeter at Michigan, but projects better at the nickel because of his movement ability, toughness and limited length. He’s physical, but can be exposed against bigger targets at 5-foot-11, 178 pounds. That shouldn’t be a deterrent if he’s still on the board because he’s smart, explosive and competitive and could be an impact player for whatever team takes him. Turner led the Wolverines in passes defended and finished with 36 tackles and one interception in 14 games last season.

Clark Phillips, Utah

The 5-foot-9, 184-pound Phillips also has the skill set of a playmaking nickel, but he’s capable of seeing outside reps as well, and the Bengals love versatility. He does a good job of reading plays to be disruptive at the catch point, and his football IQ shows up in how he breaks down route tendencies. Although he doesn’t have elite size or speed, his “athleticism, competitive instincts and balls skills will translate well to NFL coverage,” according to Brugler. A unanimous All-American, he had six interceptions in 2022.


Dawand Jones, Ohio State

Some mock drafts don’t have Jones going until the middle rounds so it’s possible he drops, but he’s been labeled a first-round talent and Reese’s Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy said NFL scouts have called him a better version of Brown, the four-time Pro Bowler who he could become teammates with in Cincinnati. With a 7-foot-5 reach and light feet, he’s difficult for pass rushers to get around, and the Bengals love their Buckeyes.

Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse

The 6-foot-5, 318-pound Bergeron can generate movement in the run game and control pass rushers, and he could be a good fit for the Bengals as someone who could play either tackle or guard. As Brugler notes in his “Beast” draft guide, Bergeron is “efficient in his movements” and has NFL starting talent, but his skills might be maximized inside.

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