You could realistically say that except for Bobbie Williams and Reggie Kelly -- two of the team's highest priorities to bring back -- that the Bengals already have their starting lineup; most of whom are returning from last season. When most of your core players are already under contract and the those that were free agents are restricted or exclusive, it kind of makes easy that way. Still, that means the Bengals can work on building their depth and gearing up for position competitions to make the starting lineup even that much stronger.
As a result, the team can really build through the draft, picking up guys that will ease into the system and support the starters, maybe eventually replacing them. One area on the defense where there's little guarantee that the returning starters actually start, is safety.
And the Bengals know that. In early April, the Bengals will host Texas Longhorns safety Earl Thomas, writes ESPN's James Walker.
Thomas' draft stock has been rising as of late. He is a big playmaker who is not graded far behind Berry, a projected top 10 pick. If more than one team high in the draft is looking to fill a void at safety, Thomas may be off the board before the Bengals select later in the first round.
Walker notes that the team is more likely to draft someone on offense, "particularly at tight end, wide receiver and maybe offensive guard, depending on what happens with free-agent offensive lineman Bobbie Williams." While I can see the point Walker makes, I doubt the team will draft either position in the first round. They have their core of receivers, it seems unlikely that the team would draft a guard that early and I've made the point several times that the offense just doesn't use the tight end position to warrant a first round pick.