As the 2016 NFL Draft nears, the Bengals are still favored to take a wide receiver with the 24th-overall pick.
If you've kept up, you'd know Corey Coleman of the Baylor Bears, Josh Doctson of the TCU Horned Frogs, Will Fuller of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Michael Thomas of the Ohio State Buckeyes are the guys who've been mocked to Cincinnati most often this offseason.
If the Bengals make their first pick based on need, receiver will almost certainly be the pick. There's just not another glaring hole on the roster right now, not to mention there's virtually nothing to speak of at this position after A.J. Green.
But if the Bengals go for the best player available, it's very possible receiver is not the pick based on who's set to be on the board at 24. Sure, some of the receivers are worth the 24th pick, but there also could be a nice defensive tackle or defensive end when Cincy is on the clock.
It was Doctson who went to the Bengals in Dane Brugler's latest mock at CBS Sports.
With Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu leaving via free agency, wide receiver is a realistic option for the Bengals with this pick. Doctson has the size, speed and ball-skills that will complement A.J. Green and give Andy Dalton another downfield threat.
Despite an injury costing him three games in 2015, Doctson still managed to catch 71 passes for 1,250 yards (19 avg.) with 14 touchdowns through the first eight games before grabbing just seven balls for 76 yards over his final two games. He was then shut down for the rest of the season, but still had an amazing year that should get him into the first round. He's also set to work out for the Bengals.
Fellow CBS Sports draft guru Rob Rang went with Fuller for the Bengals for his newest mock draft:
The Bengals locked up A.J. Green to a huge extension before last season but virtually every other receiver on the roster is a pending free agent, including Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu. Fuller has the straight-line speed to complement Green as a traditional deep threat and unlike some of the other explosive receivers of this class, he's used to playing in the sloppy conditions which are inevitable in the AFC North.
SB Nation's Dan Kadar also went with Fuller in his latest mock, which featured several first-round trades, though none involved Cincinnati.
The No. 24 pick is a little early for Fuller, who has a habit for body catching. But his blazing speed is exactly what Cincinnati's offense needs. You wonder if the Bengals could be a team that looks into trading down to get an extra pick while still being able to land a good wideout.
This past season with Notre Dame, Fuller had 62 catches for 1,258 yards and 14 touchdowns after catching 76 passes for 1,094 yards and 15 scores in 2014. Most view him as a reach this high, but nevertheless a good player who would make an impact as a rookie.
FOX Sports' Peter Schrager went with Coleman for the Bengals at 24:
Both Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones signed elsewhere for big money this offseason. Look for the Bengals to re-load. Coleman had 74 receptions for 1,363 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. His season was cut short with an injury, but he should be fine come Week 1.
If you follow our mock draft tracker, you'll see it's mostly Coleman getting projected to the Bengals and is set to workout for them before the draft.
Shockingly, Bleacher Report draft expert Eric Galko did NOT go wide receiver for the Bengals. Instead, he gave them Clemson Tigers pass-rusher Kevin Dodd.
The Cincinnati Bengals could use a receiver to fill the Marvin Jones-Mohammad Sanu void left after free agency. And with at least one of Corey Coleman, Michael Thomas or Josh Doctson likely to be available, the Bengals should have options at No. 24.
But the Bengals have been known to stick to their best-player-available model and have had great success in developing pass-rushers. While it’s not a major need, the Bengals have had defensive success by stockpiling defensive linemen and cornerbacks and always being prepared for defensive injuries. Dodd is a top-25 talent, and the Bengals can address the receiver position numerous times after this.
Dodd rose from being situational pass-rusher before 2015 to becoming one of the most dominant defensive ends in college football. This past season, Dodd registered 62 tackles, 12 sacks, 23.5 tackles for loss (second in the nation) and 46 QB pressures while helping the Tigers make it to the national title game.
All of this shows that wide receiver remains the favorite for Cincinnati to address with their first pick, but a variety of names are still in consideration.