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The Cincinnati Bengals Get OL Help in Daniel Jeremiah’s First Mock Draft

It's no secret that the Bengals need offensive line help...again. Daniel Jeremiah mocked JC Latham to Cincinnati for that reason.
JC Latham

With the Cincinnati Bengals season ending, the mock draft machines are firing off left and right. Fans love to throw out what their team should do and the experts are no different.

Recently, the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah released his first mock draft of the 2024 cycle and it has the Bengals reinforcing the trenches. Oddly enough, it’s a pick that plenty of Bengals fans have mocked themselves and MockDraftDatabase has this player as the team’s trendy pick.

So, with the 18th pick in Jeremiah’s Mock Draft 1.0, the Bengals select JC Latham, offensive tackle out of Alabama.

Still on the board: Laiatu Latu, Amarius Mims, Brian Thomas, Jr., Tyler Guyton, Chop Robinson, Jer’Zhan Newton, Nate Wiggins, Kool-Aid McKinstry

Daniel Jeremiah’s Mock Draft 1.0 Mocks J.C. Latham to the Bengals

Perhaps you haven’t heard, the Bengals need offensive line help. Does this pertain to 2024? 2023? 2022? 2021? 2020? In a word, yes.

Plain and simple, the offensive line has not been a strength for the Bengals in the Zac Taylor era. With the extreme likelihood that Jonah Williams will be walking in free agency, the Bengals need to address right tackle with a player who is not on the current roster. If worse came to worse, Jackson Carman could slide in but for Joe Burrow’s sake, they should address the hole with a player who hasn’t been a healthy scratch on a team with a weak offensive line.

JC Latham vs Jonah Williams

Lazy helmet scouts would bemoan the pick because of how the Williams and Andre Smith picks went. One doesn’t need to be the most premier talent scout to know these three players are very different from one another. To start, Williams is six-foot-five and 311 pounds with 33 5/8-inch arms (30th percentile among tackles). Latham, meanwhile, is six-foot-six and an unofficial 360 pounds with projected longer arms. His length has been one of his strengths at Alabama.

Latham is also projected to be a much better athlete than Williams. As a prospect, Williams had a 5.49 Relative Athletic Score (RAS). Latham’s measurables are not quite available, so determining an RAS from him is nearly impossible. However, from what we know, Latham is taller, heavier, longer, and faster.

Latham at Alabama

The thing about Latham is you will never question his effort. Latham made 25 starts for the Tide over the last two years and his play earned him First-Team All-SEC honors and Second-Team All-American honors this past season.

In 2022, he took over the right tackle job and helped block for one of the best offenses in the nation. He managed 29 knockdown blocks for the Tide and allowed just two sacks, 11 pressures, and two quarterback hits all year.

Then, Latham stepped it up in 2023. He added weight and cut fat and improved his already stellar game. In 408 pass sets (813 total snaps) for the Tide, Latham allowed a grand total of two sacks. He managed 41 knockdown blocks in the year as well.

He earned better than an 81 PFF grade in each of his years as starter. In total, he allowed 25 total pressures in 1,749 snaps over the last two years.

Full JC Latham Scouting Report

Day-One Starter

All of this is predicated on the Bengals losing Williams to free agency. Williams has been a decent offensive lineman for the Bengals. The issue was the number of sacks he allowed and his play against above-average edge rushers. Williams was great against lesser edge rushers but was regularly bodied by the likes of Myles Garrett and T.J. Watt. Which, to be fair, who wasn’t?

The nail in the coffin was the fact that the Bengals signed Orlando Brown, Jr. and it took Williams by surprise. He ended up requesting a trade which he later rescinded. Even though he took the move to right tackle in stride, there is likely a bit of him that burnt the bridge.

The Bengals are certainly in the market for a tackle at 18th overall. Latham isn’t the only tackle worth drafting at that spot with Mims and Taliese Fuaga likely either on the board or taken in the area of the 18th pick.

Latham gives the Bengals a day-one starter and adds much-needed athleticism to the offensive line. If this is the path the Bengals take, there will be many who will be satisfied.

Main Image: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports


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