As the offseason continues for most NFL teams, the Bengals still look like a team needing help on both sides of the trenches.
On the defensive side, the Bengals have to find players capable of getting more push and stopping the run, while showing some semblance of a pass rush. Too often last year, offensive lines controlled the line of scrimmage with ease against Cincy's d-line. Both defensive tackle and defensive end must be upgraded this offseason, and the draft will offer several first-round prospects capable of doing so.
In the end, the Bengals should address the defense with their first pick, but this is a franchise that's not afraid to take the best player of available. With offensive tackles Andre Smith and Andrew Whitworth hitting free agency in 2016, Cincinnati needs to add at least one young lineman to potentially replace them for the 2016 season. There are several quality offensive lineman that could fall to 21, but the early projections suggest there will be more defensive lineman worthy of the 21st selection still available.
Here's a look at what some of the latest mock drafts are projecting for the Bengals with their first pick in the 2015 NFL draft.
21. DT Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma
Some will argue that Domata Peko hasn't played up to his recent contract extension, but regardless, the Bengals could use interior depth. Phillips has terrific movement skills for his size and will overwhelm blockers in the run game.
21. T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
Few teams reload along the line of scrimmage as consistently as the frugal Bengals and with starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth in his ninth season and the club's primary backup (Marshall Newhouse) entering the final year of his deal, Cincinnati is likely to be on the lookout for potential replacements. Clemmings is a former defensive end who has steadily improved at right tackle the past two years. Paul Alexander, Cincinnati's offensive line coach, is considered one of the best in the business and may be able to help Clemmings maximize his exciting potential.
21. Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
It's time for the Bengals to think about grooming a replacement for Andrew Whitworth. Peat is a technical marvel with outstanding feet and agility.
21. T.J. Clemmings, G/T, Pittsburgh
The Bengals are fortunate enough to be a team without many glaring holes. Clemmings would solve one of the few issues -- offensive line depth. As a backup to Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith at tackle, and perhaps as a contender to start at guard, Clemmings could pitch in when needed in 2015 before taking over as a starter down the line.
21. Bud Dupree, DE, Kentucky
The Bengals need to find someone up front on defense who will generate more of a pass rush than Wallace Gilberry has. Finding a good pass rushing end can be difficult after the first round, so going for the best one available could be an option at No. 21.
21. Bud Dupree, DE, Kentucky
The Bengals need to improve their pass rush. Here, they get Bud Dupree from Kentucky, one of the very best guys in this draft in getting after the quarterback.
21. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
DGB could be the biggest wild card in the draft. Great potential on the field, red flags galore off of it. Cincinnati lacked the depth at receiver late in the season to compete with the Colts when A.J. Green went down with a concussion in the wild-card round.