The regular season is over and the Bengals are one of the lucky 12 teams to extend their play into the postseason. As the No. 6 seed in the AFC, the Bengals will travel to Houston to play the Texans in the Wild-Card game for the second year in a row. Hopefully this time, their playoff run doesn't end there. If they win, they'll face Peyton Manning in Denver and from there it would be the AFC Championship and then the Super Bowl.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, since the majority of the NFL teams are now in their offseason, NFL mock drafts are beginning to flood the internet. The Bengals unofficially have the No. 23 pick (I'm sure they'll have the No. 32 pick when unofficial becomes official) and, according to SB Nation's latest mock draft, the Bengals will continue to beef up their defense by selecting Oregon defensive end/linebacker Dion Jordan in the first round.
Michael Johnson is approaching free agency and the contract for Carlos Dunlap is up after next season. After them, the Bengals have little talent at end. Jordan is raw as an end and needs to put on bulk, but his talent ceiling is extremely high. A middle linebacker like Alec Ogletree of Georgia would also be a strong consideration for the Bengals here.
I can honestly say that if the Bengals allow Michael Johnson or Carlos Dunlap to walk away when their contracts are up, I will throw a fit the likes of which have never been seen. The national guard will likely have to be called to stop me from laying waste to the city of Cincinnati. Having said that, you can't complain about the Bengals keeping that defensive line rotation deep, especially since they'll likely not re-sign Robert Geathers, but there are other needs that could be addressed here.
I also don't think the Bengals necessarily need to look to the middle linebacker position, especially due to the fact that Rey Maualuga had his best year (after sputtering early) and the emergence of Vontaze Burfict.
How about Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro in the first round. Or, despite the fact the Bengals suck at drafting running backs in the first round, BenJarvus Green-Ellis' replacement in Giovani Bernard our of North Carolina.
What do you think?