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A Range of Expectations for Bengals Rookies: Amarius Mims

The weight of keeping the Super Bowl window open lies on the shoulders of the Cincinnati Bengals rookies. What can we expect from Amarius Mims?
bengals rookies

The Cincinnati Bengals rookies will be under a microscope this year. It was both surprising and unsurprising that Cincinnati elected to select Georgia’s Amarius Mims in the first round of this year’s draft. With the signing of Trent Brown, even if on a one-year deal, there could have been a feeling that offensive line was not going to be the pick at 18. Defensive linemen Jared Verse, Chop Robinson, and fan favorite Zer’Zhan Newton were still available, as were the top corners, Quinyon Mitchell and Terrion Arnold.

As it was, Mims was atop the Bengals’ draft board when it was their time and his athletic upside had Zac Taylor and the Bengals’ brass giddy. With lucrative contracts and the impending departure of entrenched contributors, the Bengals have no choice but to hit on as many draft picks as humanly possible. That could start with the 2024 NFL Draft class of Bengals rookies.

There is a wide range of possibilities for Mims’ rookie year.

Expectations for Bengals Rookies: Amarius Mims

High-End: Week 1 Starter

The biggest concern with Mims in the draft was the fact that he only made eight starts in his time at Georgia. He had to battle ankle injuries and even suffered a minor hamstring strain leading up to his Pro Day. However, in the games he did start —namely in the College Football Playoff — he showed what he could be.

Mims tested incredibly well, resulting in an elite 9.59 RAS. He’s able to perform well athletically at his remarkable size at six-foot-seven, 340 pounds. According to PFF, he had 376 pass-blocking snaps and did not allow a single sack. Perhaps his best game was against Ohio State in that CFP semifinal…his first career start.

The perception is that Mims is to back up Trent Brown and Orlando Brown, Jr. However, Trent Brown, one of this offseason’s free agent acquisitions, has not reported for OTAs because he has been off working on his own. Of course, as is the case with Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase, OTAs are optional. It could be much ado about nothing.

However, reps and chemistry are invaluable, especially for players new to a system. Mims has been taking the starting right tackle snaps in OTAs thus far. It’s not outside the realm of possibilities that Mims wins the starting job. If Frank Pollack is worth his salt, he could develop Mims into more than a run-of-the-mill right tackle.

Expecting Pro Bowl and the like for a first-year tackle who is incredibly raw may be misguided. However, with a strong offseason, Mims’ rookie season could be the beginning of an impressive Bengals career.

Low-End: Rotational Piece/Understudy

We are not in the business of damning Bengals rookies to bust status. Obviously, that is the worst-case scenario for each and every NFL Draft pick. However, it’s unrealistic and just cruel to root for failure. In Mims’ case, the low-end projection is that Brown comes in, wins and retains the starting job, and Mims spends the year developing.

This is by no means a death knell to Mims’ career. He is incredibly raw as a player and still has plenty of growing to do. Cincinnati signed Brown and drafted Mims with this route in mind. In the Duke Tobin era, the Bengals have made it a habit of drafting a year ahead. They drafted Jessie Bates III while still having Shawn Williams and George Iloka. Then, it was Dax Hill to eventually replace Bates. At receiver, that seems like that’s the plan with Jermaine Burton and Higgins because, ideally, the Bengals won’t be in line for a top-10 pick in the 2025 draft to select a top receiver.

If the non-bust worst-case scenario is everything working out as originally planned, the Bengals are in a good spot.

Realistic Expectations

With all things considered, Mims will likely have less of an impact than other Bengals rookies. Of course, that’s not to say if given the opportunity, he couldn’t be the crown jewel of the class.

Mims is a mountain of a man who moves better than someone his size should. His ceiling is ridiculously high and can end up challenging to be the best at the position since should-be Hall-of-Fame right tackle, Willie Anderson.

Of course, there will always be risk. Is Pollack not up to the job? Will the Bengals’ woes at drafting offensive line prospects continue? Will an injury set everything back? Mims is the most athletic offensive lineman the team has drafted in recent memory. At the same time, he’s one of the most inexperienced.

Realistically, Brown will be the starting right tackle and Mims will get in sparingly barring injury *knocks on wood*. Of course, Mims could end up taking the job by force and finish the season in the starting lineup. He could prove to be too good to keep off the field.

Main Image: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


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