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Mock draft Monday: Bengals choosing defense in Round 1 as of Week 9

Mock drafts are starting to make waves again as NFL teams fall out of playoff contention.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Louisiana State John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals are one win out of first place in the AFC North; their season is far from over with eight regular-season games left to be played. And with the Bengals having played in the last five postseasons, it would be foolish to count them out now. But, for many teams, a top 10 draft pick is already in reach. And as such, mock drafts are beginning to circulate, many of which have the Bengals grabbing a top 15 draft pick. So, let’s take a look at some of the way too early mock drafts and who the Bengals are picking.

CBS Sports has the Bengals going with a defensive end, something they clearly need after signing Wallace Gilberry to come aid the defense for the rest of the season.

Cincinnati Bengals: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

Barnett isn't elite in any one area, but his well-rounded skillset and intangibles will endear him to NFL coaches.

SB Nation has the Bengals choosing a linebacker, another position that has been underachieving this season, after high expectations existed coming into the season.

Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, MLB, Alabama

The play of Rey Maualuga has been average, and Vontaze Burfict has been involved in numerous issues on the field. Foster could be an instant upgrade in the middle of Cincinnati's defense.

NFL Spin Zone also chose Foster for the Bengals:

This is yet another unexpected team to be picking as high as they are, but the Cincinnati Bengals have been wholly uninspiring this season. Their offense has taken a step back, but A.J. Green and Andy Dalton still strike fear in opponents. What’s been the most glaring issue, though, is the defense of the Bengals, particularly against the run. This was an area they excelled in not long ago, but that’s since dissipated. A lack of a star-caliber middle linebacker has been the primary issue in that regard, which is why Reuben Foster is the sensible choice with the 11th-overall pick.

Are there any players you’re keeping your eyes on as the college football season continues to play on? Which positions do you see as the biggest needs for the Bengals at this point in the NFL season?

I’d agree with the position choices in these mock drafts, defensive end and linebacker need to be priorities for the Bengals during the 2017 offseason. But, we still have plenty of football left in 2016 before we really need to worry about that!