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Mock Draft: Kiper and McShay project first 4 Bengals picks

Getting Preston Smith and Ereck Flowers would be a great start for the Bengals in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL Draft nearing, ESPN's Mel Kiper and Todd McShay conduction a live three-round mock draft on Thursday.

Kiper and McShay took turns making each pick with Kiper picking even numbers and McShay picking odd numbers. That's how McShay ended up making all four of Cincinnati's picks, and he got started with an offensive tackle in the first round:

McShay's pick: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (FL)

Current starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth and starting right tackle Andre Smith are both in the final years of their contracts, and Flowers is the top-ranked player left on the board. He's likely a right tackle in the NFL but could potentially develop into a left tackle.

Flowers has been a popular mock draft target for the Bengals, and he'd be a quality pickup this late in the first round. Many mocks have him gone by pick No. 21, other than the ones that have him landing in Cincinnati.

Defensive end is another position that could be addressed in the first round, but it works out great in this mock as Cincinnati gets a steal at that position in the second round:

McShay's pick: Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State

Steal alert! The Bengals need to upgrade at defensive end and Smith is the No. 42 player on my board. He's very good against the run and offers upside as a pass-rusher.

Smith is someone who's getting first-round consideration, and it would be huge pickup for Cincinnati to get him in the middle of the second round.

Another quality pickup would be getting a guy like Clemson's Grady Jarrett in the third round:

McShay's pick: Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson

This might be the best value of this whole draft. He's the No. 55 player on my board and fits perfectly in Cincy's 4-3 defense as a penetrating 3-technique defensive tackle.

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco recently compared Jarrett to Geno Atkins. That would be a heck of a steal in the third round, similar to how Cincinnati got Atkins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft.

And for the final pick, a compensatory selection, thanks to the one-year hiatus of Michael Johnson, the Bengals add tight end depth with a local product:

McShay's pick: Jeff Heuerman, TE, Ohio State

The Bengals need to add a tight end to either play alongside Tyler Eifert or push him for playing time, and Heuerman is a big target with good ball skills.

I'd be pleased with this haul. You?