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Senior Bowl Prospects who fit Bengals

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Several players at this week's Senior Bowl would immediately upgrade the Bengals' roster.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Senior Bowl week is nearly over with only Saturday's game left to be played before the draft process really begins.

As is the case every year, many prospects improved their draft stock with a solid week of practice in Mobile, and some of them are players who the Cincinnati Bengals could be interested in. Here's a look at the Senior Bowl prospects who the Bengals should show the most interest in this offseason leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft.

Duke WR Jamison Crowder

The Bengals badly missed Andrew Hawkins this past season, and they never found a slot receiver to replace him. Mohamed Sanu tried but was also forced to play out wide with injuries to A.J. Green and Marvin Jones throughout the season. It's unclear if Sanu will move back to the slot, or if he even should be in the top three of the WR rotation.

That's where a guy like Jamison Crowder could fit in. The 5-9, 175-pounder looks and plays like Baby Hawk, and not only is he a quality slot receiver, he has the ability to beat his man at the line of scrimmage and deep, which has made him stand out during Senior Bowl practices.

Crowder will likely go somewhere after the third round, and he'd be an ideal target for Cincinnati if they want to get a more capable slot receiver than Sanu.

Washington DT Danny Shelton

Arguably the most dominant player during Senior Bowl practices is the one guy who could dramatically affect the Bengals' defense. Washington DT Danny Shelton was the best player on the field this week as he dominated whoever tried to block him.

Shelton could play either DT or NT in a 4-3 defense, and may be a suitable replacement for Domata Peko if Cincinnati moves on from him. He's a big man at 6-2, 343, but he has better feet and stamina than most defensive lineman. Shelton is the kind of interior force the Bengals simply didn't have this year, and he'd immediately upgrade the pass rush from the interior defensive line.

Kentucky DE Za'Darius Smith

Though much of the Kentucky hype is with OLB Bud Dupree, Za'Darius Smith may be the better fit for the Bengals. He hasn't lost any momentum since his MVP performance at last week's East-West Shrine Game. Smith, who had two tackles and a sack in the Shrine Game, has stood out on the South Team in both pass-rushing drills and setting the edge as a run-stuffer.

NFL Network's Bucky Brooks said scouts covet a player like Smith for nickel edge defending. He's been able to stand out a little more because he's not standing in his former teammate's shadow. Smith is trending in the right direction and currently projects as a third-rounder by CBS Sports.

The Miami Trio: LB Denzel Perryman, TE Clive Walford and WR Phillip Dorsett

The Miami Hurricanes were one of the more disappointing teams in college football this past season, mainly because they had many NFL prospects on a roster that finished 6-7. Several Hurricanes stood out during Senior Bowl practices, and one player Cincinnati should take a hard look at is Denzel Perryman. He could be their next MLB with Rey Maualuga set to hit free agency.

Perryman, a Hurricanes team captain, finished his collegiate career with 350 total tackles and 27 tackles for a loss. He's been solid during the week of practice after entering the 2014 college football season projected as the top MLB prospect and a first-round pick.

He's now projected to go in round 2 or later, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't be an upgrade to Cincinnati's defense. NFL Draft Scout wrote this on Perryman:

He is an instinctive and tough in-the-box defender who showed improved closing speed and explosiveness as a hitter in 2014.  He's difficult to latch onto at the second level due to strong, active hands, agile feet and good use of leverage when taking on bigger blockers, and he exhibits good burst and solid angles to either sideline when asked to pursue plays on the edges.

Another Hurricane to watch is TE Clive Walford, who measured in at 6-foot-4 and 254 pounds, but played just one year of high school football because his first love was basketball. He uses his basketball background to consistently get in position and box out defenders to make contested catches over the middle.

SB Nation's Dan Kadar had this writeup of Walford's week in Mobile:

In front of Jacksonville Jaguars tight ends coach Ron Middleton, Walford was making catch after catch. Dig route. Catch. Out route. Catch. Flat route. Catch. Every time Walford would pull in the ball, Middleton would scream in delight. It's fair enough to assume he'll have a sore throat tonight.

Walford was getting open using his frame to create space and a nice head fake to lose a defender. Walford is really competing this week and has been willing to go up and after difficult catches. He's showing why he should be in the discussion to be the first tight end drafted along with Maxx Williams of Minnesota.

As for WR Phillip Dorsett, the 5-10, 188-pound ball of fire has been burning DBs all week with his speed. He's easily one of, if not the fastest player in this year's draft. And, Dorsett has done a great job of getting open running the entire route tree, according to

"Some guys can run fast, but they have to work hard to do it, which limits what they can do out of their breaks," an NFC player personnel director told NFL Media analysts. "Dorsett is more natural with his speed and movement."

NFL Media analysts mentioned names such as Antonio BrownJohn Brown and T.Y. Hilton as potential comparisons; all four played high school ball in Miami or Fort Lauderdale.