High school recruiting stars hold weight for Bengals’ Zac Taylor during opening rounds of NFL Draft

High school recruiting stars hold weight for Bengals' Zac Taylor during opening rounds of NFL Draft

The more recruiting stars you have out of high school, the more likely you are to become a first or second round NFL Draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals.

The highest-rated recruits usually end up at the biggest programs, and those programs have most of the Bengals’ attention every year.

Whether it’s a coincidence or not, the Bengals have targeted literal stars with their first two picks in every draft since Taylor was hired as head coach.



Going back to 2019, Taylor’s first year, the Bengals have drafted at least one former 5-star recruit within the first two rounds of each draft. They are as follows:

2019: OT Jonah Williams (first round, 11th pick)
2020: WR Tee Higgins (second round, 33rd pick)
2021: G Jackson Carman (second round, 46th pick)
2022: S Dax Hill, (first round, 31st pick)
2023: ED Myles Murphy (first round, 28th overall)



Which 5-star recruits can the Bengals draft?
There are several former 5-star high school standouts expected to go off the board in the first 50 picks who play positions the Bengals will be targeting early.



For starters, former Alabama right tackle JC Latham and former Georgia right tackle Amarius Mims should be bolded in red ink. Right tackle is one of the two most likely positions the Bengals use their first round pick on, and Mims at least is projected to be available there. Latham is projected to go in the first half of the round, but a fall to the 18th pick isn’t impossible.



Former Alabama edge defender Dallas Turner is also a projected top-16 pick, so he’s not likely to be in play for Cincinnati.

If the Bengals wait to pick an offensive tackle in the second round, Kingsley Suamataia of BYU would be a best case scenario. He’s not expected to last 49 picks in the draft, but his athleticism and pedigree makes him an ideal pick for Cincinnati at that juncture.

Other second round options include former Texas tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders, former Alabama edge defender Chris Braswell, and former LSU defensive tackle Maason Smith.



Of all these former 5-star athletes, the Bengals have only been confirmed to bring in two of them for top 30 visits. Mims and Smith both came in for visits earlier this month.

If this trend continues, you can expect Mims and or Smith to be added to the list.

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