As the NFL Draft inches closer, the Bengals' biggest needs in this year's draft are still very debatable.
Most of the positions people think Cincinnati will address in the first few rounds will be ones that are set in 2015, but have key free agents in 2016. Offensive line is arguably the team's biggest need with one of Andre Smith or Andrew Whitworth likely gone next year.
That's why Josh Norris of Rotoworld is the latest to mock LSU's La'el Collins to the Bengals at pick No. 21:
Round 1 (21): OL La'El Collins, LSU - I could see Collins projected across multiple positions. To me he is absolutely a left tackle and the best one in this class. As Evan mentioned, both tackle spots might open sooner than later. Collins fits the power blocking the Bengals love, and his strength compensates for the lack of foot speed that shows up from time to time. Focus on the full picture rather than the three or four negative snaps per game.
Norris didn't stop there though. He mocked all seven rounds for Cincinnati, and his second pick is one that Ohio State fans will love. Michael Bennett would be a great addition to a defensive line that struggled mightily at times in 2014, and could use some fresh meat, especially on the interior:
Round 2 (53): DT Michael Bennett, Ohio State - Bennett played both 1 and 3 technique. There were outstanding flashes from each position, but the lack of consistency from both spots could prevent him from being selected higher. In fact, I could envision a later selection than this. When on, Bennett can make an impact.
After solidifying both sides of the trenches, the Bengals will at some point to add some more pass-catchers in the draft. If they wait to do so in the third round or later, ECU's Justin Hardy is one of the draft's more underrated receivers. Anytime you're the NCAA all-time leader in receptions and you're projected as a third-round pick, you're probably not getting the love you deserve, and that may be the case with Hardy:
Round 3 (85): WR Justin Hardy, ECU - A slot demon at ECU, Hardy created separation with quickness and little wasted movement on underneath and intermediate routes. He even added yards after the catch in confined space. Hardy can adjust for footballs away from his frame and displayed skills as an outside receiver during Senior Bowl week.
After Rob Housler passed on the Bengals to sign with the Browns, adding another tight end is an even bigger must in the draft. Another Buckeye prospect is Jeff Heuerman, and he should be there with Cincinnati's second third-round pick:
Round 3 (99): TE Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State - Heuerman would be a great compliment to Eifert (when healthy). Heuerman goes beyond just being a willing and adequate blocker inline. Add on the fact he has experience in space due to OSU's offense, and Heuerman could fill the second tight end role immediately.
Here's the rest of Norris' seven-round mock for the Bengals:
Round 4 (120): DT Tyeler Davison, Fresno State
Round 4 (135): LB Mike Hull, Penn State
Round 5 (157): OL Jarvis Harrison, Texas A&M
Round 6 (197): CB JaCorey Shepherd, Kansas
Round 7 (238): S Jermaine Whitehead, Auburn