With just a little over a month before the 2016 NFL draft, the Bengals have plenty of holes left on their roster to fill. Last season, the Bengals sported the most players originally drafted by the team on their roster of anyone in the NFL. They now have 42 players on the roster who they originally drafted and 10 who they signed as undrafted free agents out of college. The reason the Bengals have so many players on their roster who they originally drafted or signed is because of how well they draft and develop their talent.
With the moves the Bengals have (and haven't) made in free agency in mind, here's a look at a seven-round Bengals mock draft for the 2016 NFL Draft.
Round 1, Pick 24
Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
You're probably aware that the Bengals have a gigantic hole at the wide receiver position following the departures of Marvin Jones to Detroit and Mohamed Sanu to Atlanta. There have been talks that the Bengals might potentially sign Brandon LaFell. But, LaFell probably isn't going to sufficiently fill the No. 2 receiver role next to A.J. Green, even if signed.
That's where Doctson comes in. His draft stock has been steadily climbing. He didn't do a whole lot to improve it with his 4.50 40-yard dash time, but his vertical jump (41.0"), broad jump (131.0"), 20-yard shuttle (4.08s), and 60 yard shuttle (11.06s) were among the best of any receiver at the combine. If you give him some open space to work in, he'll burn the rubber off your cleats. If the Bengals can pick up another receiver in the draft with the top-end speed to complement the Green/Doctson tandem, Bengals fans might completely forget that they lost two high-profile receivers in the first place.
If Doctson is still available at pick No. 24, the Bengals should pounce on him while they have the chance.
Second Choice: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
Round 2, Pick 55
Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Russell Bodine is hurting the offensive line with his constant bad snaps and poor technique. Also, the Bengals like drafting players from Alabama. To name a few, former Bengals players Andre Smith and Nico Johnson, as well as current Bengals players Dre Kirkpatrick and AJ McCarron, are all fairly recent Crimson Tide draft picks for the team.
With a glaring need at the center position, Ryan Kelly is a no-brainer if he really does drop to the end of the second round. He's talented and intelligent enough to work perfectly in tandem with Andy Dalton. Hopefully, that means significantly less bad snaps without losing the tactical prowess that Bodine does bring to the table.
Second choice: Darian Thompson, FS, Boise State
Round 3, Pick 87
Jalen Mills, FS, LSU
Jalen Mills is a very talented and disciplined free safety who could easily transition to a slot corner role. With the Bengals potentially losing incumbent slot corner, Leon Hall, in free agency, Mills could take care of two big needs with one pick. There has been no real news on whether the Bengals plan to sign Reggie Nelson, but Shawn Williams is expected to be able to take over at free safety. Having a player like Mills who is experienced at the position, but can also contribute in a different role, seems like the ideal replacement strategy.
Second choice: Nick Martin, C, Notre Dame
Round 4, Pick 122
Willie Henry, DT, Michigan
We know that the Bengals attended Michigan's Pro Day. With so few draftable players coming from the Wolverines this year, it's a pretty safe bet to guess that they spent a lot of time looking at Willie Henry. Henry is a talented three-technique who is about as close to NFL-ready as you're going to get from a college player. On top of that, he can bull rush an offensive lineman with the best of them and has the closing speed to torment quarterbacks over the course of a game.
The Bengals have had success with a particular fourth round defensive tackle before. What better way to give Geno Atkins some help and really help him push beyond whatever limitations he has left?
Second Choice: Joshua Perry, OLB, Ohio State
Round 5, Pick 161
Kenny Lawler, WR, Cal
Kenny Lawler might not fall to the Bengals in the fifth round. But, if he does, he's the perfect receiver to pair with A.J. Green and Josh Doctson. Whereas Doctson mainly works well in space, Lawler has enough top-end speed to burn a defensive back when he wants to. Not to mention, if you get the ball in his vicinity, he'll probably make some kind of spectacularly logic-defying catch that makes Odell Beckham Jr. look like an average receiver.
He sometimes lets his concentration slip, creating huge problems with his routes and boneheaded drops. These concerns can be reminiscent of Greg Little. The difference is, Little was drafted in the second round. If Lawler is available in the fifth round, the Bengals could do well to take a flyer on him.
Second Choice: Adam Gotsis, DT, Georgia Tech
Round 6, Pick 199
Josh Forrest, ILB, Kentucky
With Emmanuel Lamur leaving for the Vikings in free agency, adding another linebacker to the team's depth could be a very effective move at this point in the draft. The Bengals have already scouted Forrest at Kentucky's Pro Day and have reportedly expressed 'strong interest' in the inside linebacker. Forrest performed poorly at the combine, so the original projections of him going between rounds 3-5 probably won't happen. But, he'd be a great value at pick No. 199, allowing the Bengals to bolster the linebacker depth and add a player who knows how to make tackles in the open field.
Second Choice: Ryan Anderson, DE, Alabama
Round 7, Pick 245
Cleveland Wallace III, CB, San Jose State
Wallace might have caught the Bengals' eye while they were working out Tyler Ervin at San Jose State's Pro Day. Wallace is a cornerback who has all of the mental and physical tools to succeed in the NFL, if given the right opportunity. Wallace has received interest from the Jets and Saints, per Walter Football and his size and speed create plenty of upside. He's not currently the kind of tackler who can really compete with the physicality of AFC North receivers, but he's shown enough physicality and desire to improve that over time. He's a bit too risky to take any time before Round 7, but he would be a great pick for the Bengals to finish out the draft with.
Second Choice: Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford