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NFL Draft 2015: Bengals needs in the first round

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Taking a look at position needs for the Cincinnati Bengals as the NFL draft enters the first round of the 2015 NFL draft. This list will be updated throughout the weekend.

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We're not going into a long prediction about whom the Bengals will select Thursday night and we're not going to detail possible positions that Cincinnati could address -- these discussions have been ongoing since February (and frankly, there's not much we can tell you at this stage that you don't already know). We will, however, summarize position needs throughout the weekend, starting with possible first round selections:

Offensive Tackle: The Bengals are reportedly in love with Oregon offensive tackle Jake Fisher but they're also looking at Texas A&M offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi. Whether or not this is misdirection is irrelevant -- could the Bengals address offensive tackle? The theory is that with Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith entering contract years, Cincinnati could address this position via the draft. On the other hand, if the Bengals want to keep Whitworth and Smith, they could always sign both players to contract extensions (I know... shocking!).

Wide Receiver: The argument for offensive tackle is also applied at wide receiver (and cornerback and safety) with A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones entering contract years. Green will almost certainly receive the franchise tag in 2016 while Sanu and Jones may require an interesting choice -- do they sign all three to extensions or move on with a new crop of players. If the Bengals go with wide receiver, look for players with top-end speed -- which is has been a Hue Jackson obsession this offseason.

Linebacker: For whatever reason, this will not get off my radar. Cincinnati released camp fodder linebacker LJ Fort on Wednesday and are clearly concerned about Vontaze Burfict's recovery from micro-fracture surgery. They signed linebacker A.J. Hawk in March and surprisingly used a second-round tender on Emmanuel Lamur. How about an outside linebacker with a pass rush specialty to address two concerns -- the team's awful pass rush in 2014 and a contingency if Burfict's recovery timeline takes longer than expected.

Defensive Tackle: I'm adding this only because it's expected. What do Domata Peko, Geno Atkins, Brandon Thompson, Devon Still and Pat Sims have in common? None were drafted in the first round. OK, it's certainly possible that the Bengals will draft a defensive tackle in the first-round (they broke a trend where they hadn't drafted an offensive guard in the first round in 2012), but history will counter this belief -- the Bengals haven't drafted a defensive tackle in the first round since 1994 (Big Daddy). Hell, they didn't even draft one in the second round during that span until Still. Peko maintains a strong leadership presence in the locker room; so I'm not seeing the team releasing him just yet. They also signed Sims during the offseason.

Safety/Cornerback: Obviously a dark-horse; but not enough to ignore. Viewed as one of the lone pure safeties with a first round projection, Landon Collins is a possibility for the Bengals. (I'm not convinced they'll pull the trigger but let's face facts... anything is possible with big-name SEC players). Cornerback is also a position on Cincinnati's roster that will require replenishment. Consider the aging nature of the position with Leon Hall and Adam Jones, both of whom will be free agents at this time next year. If we're making that argument at offensive tackle, we can't luxuriously disregard the same argument at cornerback.

Tight End: Always possible, but the chances of a first-round tight end are extraordinary unlikely -- not because of the need, but rather the lack of first-round talent at the position. This becomes more of a need in later rounds (maybe even on Friday).