The draft is over, and free agency never happened (hopefully it will soon), so we're left with a roster that's not entirely filled. There's been some discussion about this amongst Bengals fans, so I thought I'd make a list. Here are my candidates:
Run-Stuffing Defensive Tackle
Peko is a good leader, and he's a pretty balanced DT. He's gotten some criticism for not being dominant enough, but I think he's a dependable, solid-all-around player. Atkins is obviously a pass-rusher, while Sims is obviously a run-stopper. I'm a big believer in DL rotations, and I think we need another mountain-in-the-middle, to replace the aging/smallish/injured Tank Johnson. I have a feeling that we're going to need to bring in a skill position vet (more on that later), so we probably won't be spending a lot on this. Given that this would be a backup, I'd be happy with a 330-lb UDFA. If he can take up space, he's got the job.
Starting Running Back
Previously, I was talking about the #4 DT. Now I'm talking about the #1 RB, which, obviously, is a bigger issue. We could easily lose Benson. While all of our other RBs are well-suited for WCO work (Scott, Leonard, Peerman, and Finley are all good receivers), we don't have an AFC North-style power 'back--though Peerman (physically, a poor man's MJD) might be able to take the punishment. But I'd feel more comfortable if we had a bigger, between-the-tackles RB. We could get a veteran at a reasonable price. I can think of quite a few generic RBs who have done well with new teams, as you can just plug them in and go.
Yeah, I left this for third, because the position tends to dominate discussion. As we all know, Dalton doesn't have much experience in a pro-style offense, and there's no way of telling how much training time they'll get. We could end up needing a vet, and I can imagine a situation where MB has to pay Dalton, Carson, and someone along the lines of Gradkowski. I'd prefer Gradkowski, but Marvin might prefer a known quantity, such as Kitna. Given Romo's fragile ego and Kitna's moderate late-season success, I wouldn't be surprised if Kitna is shown the door, to prevent a potential locker room situation.
This one is obvious: if Joseph leaves, our strongest position on defense will get scary. Pac-Man is already injured, and his aggressive playing style could easily lead to more problems. We have a good depth guy in Trent, and unknown quantities in Ghee and Lindsey. CB is insanely expensive in free agency. Do we keep Jonathan Wade? Hopefully, this never becomes an issue.
There are some positions that have constantly gotten the short end of the stick, in the ML era. I don't know if it's Marvin or MB doing it. Safety and guard don't seem to be highly valued, and fullback is the same, though we once experienced the lofty days of Jeremi Johnson being the highest-paid FB in the league. Fui's receiving skills could make him a good WCO FB, but he's a project, and Pressley isn't that far ahead of him. We signed FB/TE Garrett Mills off the waiver-wire, and the official site claims that we also have a FB by the name of James Develin. Do we bring in a UDFA like Hynoski, or should we give Pressley and Fui more time to develop? Or do we not have one at all, going with Peko and Skuta in certain situations?
Run-Blocking Tight End
This may seem like a strange one, but bear with me. Gresham and Coffman are good-hands TEs coming out of versions of the spread. Nothing against their blocking, but, we don't currently have a TE that dominates in that area. Kelly is nearing retirement, sadly, and his intended replacement, Dan Coats, was cut for not being able to catch the flu in 1918. (Timely reference!) Surely we could find an enthusiastic blocker among the UDFA crop.
Most of these needs are contingent on keeping/losing certain players, as well as how long the lockout stretches. But I'm curious, what do you think our biggest remaining need is?