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Mel Kiper Mock Draft: Bengals Select LB

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In Mel Kiper's latest mock draft, the Bengals go right back where they began, selecting a linebacker with the No. 21 overall pick.

Joe Robbins

In NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper's latest mock draft (version 3.0), the Cincinnati Bengals use the No. 21 overall pick on Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree.

Pick analysis: Last year the Bengals hit a home run when Marvin Lewis pushed to bring in a linebacker with some very good tape but a few character questions. Vontaze Burfict was a value home run. Ogletree has some of the best tape in this draft, and can be an immediate upgrade over what the Bengals got last year from Rey Maualuga.

Free-agency factor: I can see the Bengals looking at another wide receiver in free agency, and they also may have to replace Andre Smith, so what happens this week and next on the market could certainly shift the direction of this pick.

There's no question that Ogletree is an interesting prospect, especially for the Bengals, who have a hole at the SAM position. However, with Andre Smith unsigned at the moment, and with the level of talent and depth at the offensive tackle position in this year's draft class, you'd think the Bengals may go after a guy like D.J. Fluker out of Alabama in the first round.

If the Bengals are able to re-sign Smith, though, grabbing an outside linebacker that can start alongside Vontaze Burfict and Thomas Howard, if the Bengals are able to re-sign him, would be a good move in the first round.

Ogletree has the size to plan the SAM position and he has the speed to chase down backs and receivers sideline to sideline. He does have some character concerns, though. He was charged with a DUI two weeks before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, and he has been suspended more than once while playing at Georgia for violation of team rules.

The new league year begins on March 12 at 4 p.m. when players will be able to sign with other teams. Which players sign with which teams will greatly influence the upcoming draft.