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NFL Mock Draft: Replacements for Andre Smith and Andrew Whitworth

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Both Bengals starting tackles are free agents next year, and one of them likely will need to be replaced.

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With the NFL Draft now a month away, many so-called experts see the Bengals taking an offensive lineman with the 21st-overall pick.

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein has Cincinnati taking Miami's Ereck Flowers with their first-round pick, saying, "The Bengals could move Flowers to guard or prepare him to take over for the overrated Andre Smith after 2015. Either way, mean comes to town."

There seems to be a growing belief Andre isn't going to re-sign with the Bengals next year, at least if he can get someone else to offer him a big-time deal. If he bounces back from his torn triceps and has a good 2015 season, he might end up being the best right tackle to hit the market. With the Bengals having so many other free agents next year, it's possible they would have to watch Smith leave for a big deal elsewhere.

There's also the question of Andrew Whitworth's future with his deal up next year as well. The potential of needing to replace the 33-year-old tackle is why CBS' Will Brinson has Cincinnati taking Stanford's Andrus Peat at pick No. 21.

Steal of a pick here for the Bengals, getting a potential franchise left tackle at a value spot as they prepare to replace Andrew Whitworth at some point in the future. For now Peat gives them depth on the line.

In the end, the Bengals would be wise to spend one of their first two picks in this year's draft on an offensive tackle. After all, good NFL tackles are hard to find, and losing one or both of Smith and Whit will be hard to overcome. Not having an adequate replacement might lead to another Marshall Newhouse-type player getting significant snaps in 2016.

Personally, that scares the bejeezus out of me.