clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bengals go wide receiver in Mel Kiper's 2016 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

New, comments

Could the Bengals be in the market for a new receiver in this year's NFL draft?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason is here for the Cincinnati Bengals and 23 other NFL teams.

That means the focus on the 2016 NFL Draft will be revving up between now and late April when the Bengals look to continue building toward a Super Bowl run. Cincinnati has annually become one of the NFL's best drafting teams, and if that can continue this year, maybe it will be enough for this team to finally get a playoff win.

The problem is, just like last year, there's no real clear-cut need for this team as the offseason begins. Last year, we all debated whether the offensive line, defensive line or even linebacker was the biggest area needing to be addressed. It turned out the Bengals would draft two offensive tackles with their first two picks, which means that position should not be touched before Day 3 of the draft.

This year, the focus is on the wide receiver position, at least for the time being. While A.J. Green is one if the game's best receivers, he may not have any proven commodity next to him next season with both Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu set to hit free agency this offseason. Even Brandon Tate is set to hit free agency, too. Even if one or both of Jones and Sanu are retained, you could argue another viable receiver wouldn't hurt this offense, especially when we're talking about a late-first round pick where it's often best to just take the best available player.

That's why ESPN's Mel Kiper has the Bengals taking Notre Dame receiver Will Fuller with their first pick in the 2016 NFL draft in his first Mock Draft of the offseason.

24. Cincinnati Bengals

*Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame

A.J. Green is locked up for a while, but both Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones are free agents, so the Bengals could be looking to add another weapon in the passing game to go with Green and Tyler Eifert. Fuller is a dynamo on the deep ball, and can make a cornerback look slow when the ball is in the air. He can be a weapon after the catch as well. The knock: needs more consistency with the hands. But he can help this team.

This past season with the Irish, Fuller had 62 catches for 1,258 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year, despite playing with an inexperienced quarterback due to injuries at the position. In 2014, he caught 76 passes for 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns.

While adding a guy like Fuller would be nice, the Bengals would be better served getting Jones and Sanu re-signed and using their first round pick on another position of need. Why not re-sign the current pass catching duo and look to improve upon the same top-10 offense Cincinnati had this past season?

That said, anyone who watched Fuller this past year with the Irish would drool at the thought of him, Green and Tyler Eifert on the same offense. Eifert and Fuller missed each other by a year at Notre Dame.

If the Bengals snag a guy of Fuller's talent in the first round, it would be a great addition that would only ensure the offense remains elite in 2016, when Andy Dalton is healthy.