As the offseason begins for the Bengals, so too does the speculation of who they could take in this year's NFL draft. With the majority of their core players being drafted by Cincinnati, their most realistic chance of upgrading their roster will once again come through the draft.
One thing is for sure, and that's Cincinnati is still multiple players away from being a legit Super Bowl contender, but they are still closer than many teams in the AFC. A solid draft could be enough to propel them to a playoff run that could end with a trip to Super Bowl 50.
It's early, but mock-draft season is in full effect. Most see the Bengals staying in the trenches with the 21st-overall pick. Our own Cody Temwey has Cincinnati selecting Florida Gators star Dante Fowler. Personally, I would be pumping my fist if this happens, but I think Fowler goes earlier. He would be a force at defensive end that Cincinnati didn't have outside of Carlos Dunlap, another former Gators star.
Here's a roundup of which players mock drafts have the Bengals taking as of now:
|Mocking The Draft||Bud Dupree||LB/DE||Kentucky||1/5/15|
|Football's Future||Shaq Thompson||LB||Washington||1/2/15|
|Draft Tek||T.J. Clemmings||OT||Pitt||12/31/14|
|Walter Football||Bud Dupree||LB||Kentucky||12/30/14|
|CBS Sports/Rang||Ereck Flowers||OT||Miami||12/29/14|
|CBS Sports/Brugler||Eddie Goldman||DT||Florida State||12/29/14|
|SI*||Shilique Calhoun||DE||Michigan State||12/18/14|
|Great Blue North Draft Report||Eddie Goldman||DT||Florida State||12/21/14|
|NE Patriots Draft/Loyko||Malcolm Brown||DT||Texas||12/29/14|
|Sporting News||Eli Harold||OLB/DE||Virginia||1/7/15|
*Most recent SI mock has only first 10 picks
As you can see, most believe the Bengals are going with either an offensive or defensive lineman with their first pick, and everyone has either a lineman or front-seven player. When you get gashed like the Bengals' run defense did, it's easy to see why so many think they'll go with a lineman or linebacker to help shore that up.