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Zac Taylor’s Draft Strategy: High School Standouts Catch Bengals’ Attention.

In the high-stakes world of the NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals under Zac Taylor’s leadership have shown a penchant for targeting top high school recruits-turned-collegiate stars in the early rounds.

It’s no secret that players who earned high recruiting ratings in high school often find themselves in the spotlight during the NFL Draft, especially in the first and second rounds. The Bengals, like many teams, gravitate towards prospects from prestigious college programs, where top recruits typically end up.

Since Taylor took the reins as head coach in 2019, the Bengals have consistently invested their early picks in former 5-star recruits:

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)

As the Bengals prepare for the upcoming draft, several former 5-star high school standouts are on their radar, particularly in positions of need.

JC Latham, a former 5-star recruit from Alabama, and Amarius Mims from Georgia, both right tackles, are top prospects likely to draw the Bengals’ attention. While Latham may be off the board early, Mims could be a viable option with the 18th pick.

Dallas Turner, another former 5-star talent from Alabama, is expected to be a top-16 pick and may not be within the Bengals’ reach.

In the second round, offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia from BYU stands out as a potential steal if available. Other options include tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders from Texas, edge defender Chris Braswell from Alabama, and defensive tackle Maason Smith from LSU.

While the Bengals have only hosted two former 5-star recruits, Mims and Smith, for top 30 visits, their track record suggests they could add more to the list as the draft approaches. With Taylor at the helm, expect the Bengals to continue their trend of targeting high school standouts to strengthen their roster.

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