The Bengals have worked to upgrade their pass rush this offseason after it fell off a cliff in 2014, but they could stand to add a defensive end early in this year's draft.
Cincinnati went from having one of the league's most feared pass rushes to having the NFL's worst last season, and the addition of Michael Johnson probably isn't enough to completely fix it. It's possible the Bengals spend a first-round pick on a pass-rusher this year.
But, Randy Gregory? Regarded as one of the top overall prospects in this year's draft, the Nebraska defensive end was once projected to go in the top five picks, but a failed drug test at the scouting combine now has some believing he's in for a long fall on Draft Day.
Charlie Campbell of Walter Football thinks it's possible Gregory falls far enough that Cincinnati is able to scoop him up:
Gregory is hands down the best pass-rusher in the 2015 NFL Draft, in my opinion. However, I have him sliding because of off-the-field concerns. In 2014, Gregory totaled 56 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss, seven sacks, one forced fumble, three passes broken up and one interception while missing three games (knee, concussion, ankle). He was a beast for Nebraska in 2013 - his first year on campus. The sophomore had just 10 starts, yet racked up 66 tackles with 19 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, one pass batted and an interception. The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder should get even bigger over time.
There is no doubt that Gregory is extremely fast. His lightning first-step gives him an advantage to turn the corner against tackles. Gregory also has natural agility to drop his hips and maneuver his body by blockers. On top of his speed, he has phenomenal hands for a player who doesn't have a lot of experience. Gregory is very adept at getting blockers' hands off of him and shedding their blocks. He is also physical when putting offensive players into the turf. Gregory has a relentless attitude and can make some plays through a second effort. He uses a spin move, swim move and bull rush effectively. Gregory also is really smart about when he deploys those moves. However, Gregory could stand to get stronger for the ground game.
I'll go ahead and say there's little-to-no chance Gregory falls this far. He's the type of prospect NFL GMs are willing to overlook a few failed drug tests in college for to spend a top-15 pick on.
Now, if Gregory does fall out of the top 10 and into the teens, is it possible the Bengals trade up to draft him? With extra picks in both the third and fourth round, trading up 5-to-8 spots in the middle of the first round shouldn't be too hard to accomplish.
That is, if Cincinnati even wants Gregory, but given their deficiencies, they should.