Bengals likely to look for an offensive tackle and run-stopping defensive lineman in the NFL draft

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Bengals went into free agency with explosive plays in mind — producing more of them on offense and allowing fewer on defense.

That overarching theme is expected to carry over to the draft in which the Bengals have the 18th overall pick and nine more in the remaining six rounds.

That could mean an offensive tackle who can help keep franchise quarterback Joe Burrow off the ground, a run-stopping D-lineman, a wide receiver or just the best player available.

Oregon State offensive tackle Taliese Fuaga and Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy II have been in the conversation as possible first-round picks for Cincinnati.

“We want the traits, and we want the intangibles,” Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin said. “And so, we’re really focused on trying to really get to the root of what makes a guy tick and how much he loves the game. It hasn’t changed. Every team is looking for the same thing, but you want guys with the intangibles to grind."

The Cincinnati defense was the worst in the league last year at giving up explosive plays — passes that gain at least 20 yards and runs that pick up at least 10.

The offense ranked in the bottom 10 at creating explosives. It didn't help that Burrow was lost for the last seven games with a torn ligament in his right wrist.

The Bengals missed the playoffs in 2023 for the first time in three seasons.


An offensive tackle, a run-stopping defensive tackle and a No. 3 receiver.

Cincinnati's offensive lines have struggled to protect Burrow since he got there in 2020. There was another shakeup this offseason when right tackle Jonah Williams moved on in free agency and Trent Brown, who just turned 31, was signed to a one-year contract to replace him.

Defensive tackle D.J. Reader went to the Lions, but Cincinnati picked up former Texan Sheldon Rankins, who had three sacks against the Bengals when the teams met in Week 10. The team is in the market for another hole-plugging defensive tackle.

The Bengals didn't re-sign 29-year-old receiver Tyler Boyd, who was a reliable No. 3 to Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, who is playing with the franchise tag this season and has asked for a trade. They'd like to find a slot receiver who could be developed.


Quarterback, running back, tight end and safety.


Burrow required surgery after the injury to his right wrist in the Nov. 16 loss to Baltimore.

“It's the No. 1 question I get asked in public, when I'm at basketball games or whatever it is, is 'how's Joe?' Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “So that's part of it. He's a big part of what we're doing, and I understand the concern everybody has. But the guy has been through some rehab processes, and he knows how to attack it and get his body back right to where it needs to be. (I'm) excited to see what this season will bring for him.”

Burrow told the Bengals team website that his wrist is “getting better every day” and that it hasn't affected his offseason training.


Former Ravens safety Geno Stone is expected to improve the Cincinnati secondary, and safety Vonn Bell — an anchor of the 2021 Super Bowl team — returned to the Bengals after spending one season with Carolina. The Bengals traded veteran running back Joe Mixon and added former Colt Zack Moss also added pass catching tight end Mike Gesicki, most recently of the Patriots.


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