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NFL Draft Day 2 defenders to keep an eye on for Bengals

What defensive players might the Bengals target on Friday night?

South Carolina v Clemson Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

The NFL Draft isn’t over yet. There is plenty of talent available on Day 2, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

Yes, the Cincinnati Bengals already struck on that side, but don’t be surprised if they come back for more. They could even go for another pass-rusher.

Here are just a few defenders who could help the Bengals get back to the Super Bowl.

Defensive Line

Karl Brooks is a 300-pound defensive end for Bowling Green. Naturally, a position change is in his future.

Brooks is a project, but after tallying up 17.5 sacks on the edge over the past two seasons, he could bring some much-needed pass-rush juice to the Bengals' interior defensive line. He has the quick feet and quick hands to do it.

Some are projecting Adetomiwa Adebawore to three-technique, but I think he has Bengals’ defensive end written all over him.

The Northwestern defender has the strength to hold the edge against the run and brings a dynamic pass-rush repertoire. He is excellent on twists and stunts and could bump inside as a pass-rush change-up.

USC’s Tuli Tuipulotu is another great defensive fit for the Bengals. He isn’t even old enough to drink, but he was hands down the best player on the USC defense last season. Tuipulotu has the strength to hold the edge in the run game and the versatility to rush the passer from inside or outside.

He could develop into a high-quality NFL starter.

Not enough people are talking about Isaiah McGuire.

He has an 82-inch wingspan, and he knows how to use it. His hands are strong and fast, and he is able to disengage quickly to get off blocks. He was also a captain at Missouri and brings the leadership that the Bengals love.

Defensive Back

Cam Smith brings the physical presence to the secondary that the Bengals desire. He comes flying in with reckless abandon to make tackles. Smith is a smooth athlete who can dominate in man and zone coverages. The South Carolina cornerback is a first-round talent and would be a steal for the Bengals in Round 2.

Smith’s teammate Darius Rush is also extremely impressive.

Whether it is a run or a pass, the play is never over for Rush. He gets out of position from time to time but has the make-up speed to get back where he needs to be and make a play on the ball. He would be a fantastic addition to the Bengals’ secondary.

Michigan’s D.J. Turner is an incredible athlete who ran a 4.26 40 and posted 38.5 inch vertical. His technique and eye discipline are also very impressive, and he keeps locked tight on the receivers throughout the route.

The Bengals added a Michigan defensive back in the first round last of last year’s draft; could they add another on Day 2 this year?

The Bengals love long, lean, physical defensive backs, and Julius Brents checks all three boxes.

The versatile Kansas State defensive back is surprisingly smooth at 6-foot-2 and does an excellent job in tight man coverage. In zone, he makes good reads and breaks fast, bringing the thunder down on the pass-catcher.

Despite what many draft simulators indicate, safety is not a huge need for the Bengals.

They have faith in Dax Hill as he enters year two and signed Nick Scott to start beside him. Still, that doesn’t mean the position is completely off the table, and there is one safety who stands out as a great fit but is not getting the top-50 buzz he should.

Sydney Brown is a phenomenal player with the speed, smarts, physicality, and versatility the Bengals are looking for at the safety position. They could find a role for him that would make him worth the pick, potentially running a lot of three-safety looks in 2024.