Bengals Address Needs On Offensive And Defensive Lines In Nfl Draft, Add A Receiver For Depth

Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick Amarius Mims pauses during a television interview following an NFL football news conference in Cincinnati, Friday, April 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick Amarius Mims pauses during a television interview following an NFL football news conference in Cincinnati, Friday, April 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
View All (3)

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Bengals used the NFL draft to take some of the pieces they believe were most needed to address weaknesses.

The Bengals want to keep oft-sacked franchise quarterback Joe Burrow off the turf. Toward that end, they took huge Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims (first round, 18th overall).

To add depth to the interior of the defensive line, they got defensive tackles Kris Jenkins from Michigan (second round, 49th overall) and McKinnley Jackson from Texas A&M (third round, 97th overall).

With some uncertainly in its receiver ranks, Cincinnati added Alabama's Jermaine Burton (round 3, 80th overall).

First-round pick Mims — 6-foot-8, 340 pounds — may be a long-term solution at right tackle who can help keep Burrow's uniform clean.

The Bengals lost tackle Jonah Williams to Arizona in free agency. They have Orlando Brown Jr. on the left side and signed 10-year veteran Trent Brown to a one-year contract to play on the right side for 2024.

That means Cincinnati can ease Mims into the rotation behind the two veterans who can help coach him up.

“I feel like I’m a nasty football player,” Mims said. ”At O-line, you’ve got to do that. You’ve got to be like that, honestly, just because you’re playing the hardest position on the field, in my opinion."

Bengals coaches speculated Mims dropped in the draft because of a relative lack of snaps for a three-year college lineman. He played in seven games and suffered a high ankle sprain that required surgery in 2023. He started just eight total games at Georgia.

Mims said he has plenty of tape he can show to doubters. The Bengals certainly liked what they saw.

“I don’t want to argue back and forth with people about starts and snaps, or how many I got, how many the other person got in front of me,” Mims told reporters. “I made the most out of my opportunities, and now I’m here."


Jenkins and Jackson could be valuable after the Bengals lost 29-year-old run-stopping nose tackle D.J. Reader to Detroit in free agency. They already signed veteran free agent Sheldon Rankins to help in the middle.

The 6-foot-3, 299-pound Jenkins — whose father Kris Jenkins was a four-time Pro Bowler at the same position — started for two seasons for the defending national champions. He started all 15 games last year, logging 37 tackles, 4 1/2 tackles for loss, 2 1/2 sacks and an interception.

“He’s a polished guy, captain at Michigan, checks every box,” Cincinnati defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo said. “We see him as a three-down player. He’s already shown that in college at a high level. Right now he’ll be slotted in to rotate in with the other guys, and we’re very excited to have him.”

The Bengals also kept their eye on Jackson as the draft progressed.

“He fits a good spot for us. Three hundred thirty-pound nose guard — there’s not a lot of those in the draft,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. "He’s a guy that we had rated highly, and he was sitting right there for us in the third round, so it was the right spot to take him. That was a guy we felt really good about getting in here.”


The Bengals had hoped to add another receiver to the mix after declining to re-sign Tyler Boyd and putting the franchise tag on Tee Higgins as they try to sign star wideout Ja’Marr Chase to a long-term contract.

They got the 6-foot, 194-pound Burton, who led the SEC and ranked sixth nationally with a 20.5 yards-per-catch average. Last season he had 39 catches for a team-high 798 yards and eight touchdowns.

“Well-rounded tape, super competitive, plays with a lot of energy,” Taylor said of Burton. “(He) goes and fights for the ball, shows a lot of different things that he can do outside and inside, finishes plays in the end zone.”


AP NFL coverage: