What are the Bengals' biggest needs heading into the NFL Draft?
I would love to see the Bengals improve at the linebacker, wide receiver and safety positions. Sure, I won't be mad if they land a stud defensive lineman or an eventual replacement at left tackle. I like that there is no real glaring need for the Bengals in the draft. This gives them the flexibility of adding a player to improve any number of positions and not having to reach for their guy.
In order: offensive tackle, defensive line, wide receiver, linebacker, tight end. The Bengals need a tackle who can take over in 2016 if Whitworth and/or Smith do not re-sign and I think they take a tackle somewhere in the first two rounds. I also believe they still need help at defensive line.
I like the signings of Sims and Johnson, but I don’t think that answers all the problems the Bengals have on defense. There are some good lineman in this draft that can be found late in round one and two. The Bengals also need a young, speedy receiver, preferably one who can also help in the kick return game. They still need help at the linebacker position and need some talented youth behind Mauluga, Burfict and Hawk.
Lastly, with the anticipation of Gresham leaving, the Bengals need a young tight end who can block. The Bengals have six picks in the first four rounds and I expect the Bengals to draft a player at each of these positions in those first six picks.
This is debatable, depending on one's viewpoint. Given that they addressed defensive tackle, defensive end, linebacker and cornerback in free agency, I'm inclined to think that the offense needs some work. A speedy wideout, capable of playing the slot and outside is a need, as is tight end. Offensive tackle is a need if the team is using 2016 foresight, but you can't overlook a linebacker--especially one with pass-rush ability.
Defense needs some help. We've got the run stoppers all in place, but we need a bull rusher who makes life miserable for those up against him and reduces the double teams on Dunlap and Atkins. Linebacker depth killed us at the end of the season, and if Burfict isn't going to be 100% awesome sauce it's time to get the next guy.
Newman's departure (good for him, btw) means we should try to get a mid-round player in training too. Offensively I think we would be best to use an early pick on OT. A road-grader to plow the way for our RBs is in order. WR's always need to be injected into your team from the draft, and even with Jones back, Sanu and Tate are shaky gambles. The fourth round seems about the time to pick up some talent without too great of a cost.
Offensive tackle of the future, a blocking tight end, depth at receiver (kick returner), depth at linebacker, depth at safety, depth at the defensive line.
I don't think the interior DL is a need anymore, but just because it seems there's no room for anyone else. Grabbing an OT could come in handy if Smith or Whit aren't in Cincy in '16. I think most agree C is a need but they won't address it. WR and TE are two spots where they are going to add somebody for sure and I'd love to see an impact player. But, the Bengals could resign Gresham and use Hewitt more as TE so... I won't get too excited.