Now that the 2013 Senior Bowl is over, there are another round of mock drafts showing the players that improved their draft stock as well as the players whose draft stock fell. According to SB Nation's latest mock draft, the Bengals stick with a theme that has been fairly constant in recent mocks by selecting a linebacker with the No. 21 overall pick. This draft projects that they'll use the No. 21 pick on Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
The Bengals are expected to move Vontaze Burfict inside, which will leave an opening at outside linebacker. Brown is an ultra-athletic linebacker capable of making plays all over the field.
The Bengals have three starters, or former starters, hitting free agency from the linebacker positions once the season is over. Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga and outside linebackers Thomas Howard and Manny Lawson could potentially test the market. The Bengals have Vontaze Burfict under contract and they recently signed Aaron Maybin and they have a few others under contract. They will need to either re-sign some of their free agents or draft new linebackers, though.
If the Bengals do move Burfict to the MIKE position, it would not only mean the end of Maualuga in Cincinnati, but the team would need to find new SAM and WILL linebackers. They could choose to re-sign Lawson and Howard, or they could bring in an linebacker like Brown, who could likely start from day one, via the draft.
If the Bengals play their cards right, they could not only have a dominant defensive line, but a dominant front seven. Every top-tier defense in the league has outstanding linebackers. The Bengals can put themselves in that same category with the right moves in free agency and the draft.
What do you think of the idea of drafting Brown in the first round?