The Cincinnati Bengals have numerous holes they could fill. However, they have just a few holes they must address. Some of those must-fill holes could also be negated to could-fill in free agency.
The next few months will determine quite a bit for Cincinnati, and sitting top ten in cap space entering the offseason, the potential is there for them to seriously upgrade their roster.
With players like Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd hitting the open market unless the former is hit with a franchise tag, the Bengals may be preparing for an exodus of several of their top weapons. That said, they will have the option to replace them in the 2024 NFL Draft.
While the obvious desire should be to bring Higgins back and then backfill Boyd’s position with players they took last season, there’s no denying that having more weapons for superstar quarterback Joe Burrow would only be seen as a positive.
With how the next few months are set to go being considered, ESPN’s Matt Miller dropped his latest 2024 NFL Mock Draft. In it, he had the Bengals selecting Brian Thomas Jr. out of LSU Tigers at No. 18 and then Texas Longhorns tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders at No. 49.
“If Higgins should price himself out of Cincinnati’s budget, Thomas is an ideal replacement. He snagged 17 touchdowns in 2023, leading the nation in the category while showing excellent length and great ball-tracking skills. Thomas is raw as a route runner, but operating opposite former LSU star Ja’Marr Chase would help him acclimate to the pro game.” Miller wrote.
He also wrote on the fit that Sanders could bring to Cincinnati.
“Sanders is more of a Y tight end than in-line player, and he made a living bursting up seams at Texas. The 6-foot-4, 243-pound junior caught 99 passes for seven touchdowns in the past two seasons and comes to the NFL as a ready-made flex tight end option,” Miller said.
If Higgins does indeed head elsewhere, filling the void in the first round makes sense, and bringing in an elite tight end, especially considering how last year went with Irv Smith Jr., could unlock a new dimension in this offense.
While it seems unlikely to happen given how Higgins’ situation will hopefully pan out, those picks in the first two rounds would set Cincinnati up for long-term offensive success.