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The Athletic projects Bengals to take a wide receiver in the first round of NFL Draft

The questions around Tee Higgins are impacting mock draft projections.

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NCAA Football: Washington State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NFL Draft will be an interesting one for the Cincinnati Bengals as they may need to address a need at wide receiver.

Star wide receiver Tee Higgins is set to enter free agency after the season since neither side could not agree on a contract before this season.

In the event that the two can’t agree on a new contract this coming offseason and the Bengals do not elect to use a franchise tag on Higgins, a high first-round draft may be used to replace him.

In the latest mock draft from The Athletic, the Bengals will be the 15th team on the clock as the standing currently sits, and, in the draft, they project the Bengals to take Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze.

“Bengals fans will be understandably dejected if Tee Higgins departs this offseason, but drafting Odunze as a replacement might be the best-case scenario among the realistic options. At 6-3, 217 with 4.4 speed, the Washington pass catcher can create his own spacing mid-route and is also one of the best contested-catch receivers in college football.”

At 21 years old, Odunze is a big body, much like Higgins, but faster. So far this season, he has posted 1,326 yards and 13 touchdowns through 12 games.

With Higgins’ future in Cincinnati up in the air, this will not be the last mock draft that projects the Bengals to take a wide receiver in the first round.

You can check out the full mock draft from The Athletic here.