Bengals Mock Draft Buzz: Jordan Morgan vs JC Latham at No. 18 in 2024 NFL Draft; protecting Joe Burrow

Bengals must keep Joe Burrow healthy in 2024. Drafting a top tackle has to be a top priority.

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens / Rob Carr/GettyImages
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As the 2023 NFL season proved, as Joe Burrow goes, so does the Cincinnati Bengals

Burrow, who suffered a right calf injury in training camp, had a slow start to the 2024 NFL season.  The Bengals got off to a slow start, falling to 0-2 and then 2-3 before bouncing back with a 5-4 record by the Bye Week.  It looked like another one of those seasons Burrow and the Bengals would bounce back, but a wrist injury in Week 11 sidelined the franchise QB for the rest of the season.

Despite backup quarterback Jake Browning sparking the team, the Bengals ended the season at 9-8.  Considering the injuries to Burrow, it wasn’t a completely lost season, but Bengals fans must wonder what would have been if the star signal caller was healthy, which is why protecting Burrow is a primary focus of the team in 2024.

Bengals must protect Joe Burrow at all cost in 2024

As the Bengals enter the 2024 NFL Draft with the No. 18 overall pick, some of the top mock drafts have Cincinnati selecting a tackle at the spot.  One of the interesting names surfacing in the mid-to-late first round is Arizona left tackle Jordan Morgan.

With strong upper-body strength, the 6-foot-5, 312-pound tackle would be a great addition to protect Burrow’s blindside if he works on and improves his footwork when the pass rush takes a wide angle. 

In his latest CBS Sports Mock Draft, Chris Trapasso writes:

“The Bengals know how vital it is protecting Joe Burrow, so Morgan is added as one of the best pass-blockers in the class.”

Bengals select a monster in JC Latham according to NFL.com’s three-round mock

This is a more realistic option for the Bengals at that spot, but they may hit the jackpot if a higher ranked offensive lineman falls a bit to them.  In his latest three-round mock draft, NFL.com writer Chad Reuter has Alabama tackle JC Latham falling to them at that spot.

He writes:

“Cincinnati would be fortunate to see Latham waiting on a phone call in the middle of the first round. Assuming Jonah Williams is not re-signed, the rookie would join Orlando Brown to give the Bengals a massive starting tackle duo.”

2024 NFL Draft prospect JC Latham
Alabama OT JC Latham / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

Latham is ranked as the fourth best tackle entering the draft behind Joe Alt, Olumuyiwa Fashanu and Taliese Fuaga.  At 6-foot-6, 360 pounds, this man is a beast.  With his elite strength and power, he is a pass protector that will set the tone against defensive lines but could be too aggressive in the run game which is an area the Bengals would like to improve in 2024.  He’s young, so his technique can obviously improve, especially if he’s learning from a player like Orlando Brown.

Latham is the choice here if he falls to No. 18, but Morgan is not a bad choice at all if you are a Bengals fan.

If you are wondering about NFL Mocks and who we have the Bengals selecting, Mocks contributor Cody Spears has Burrow’s squad going defense with the selection of Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy.  Spears expects Murphy to rise up the draft board once he works out at the NFL Scouting Combine.  If the top tackles are off the board, expect the Bengals to go this route and don’t be surprised if they do go cornerback or even wide receiver at this spot.

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