The 2016 NFL Draft can't get here soon enough, and in the meantime, we'll keeping passing the time by looking at who the mock drafts think the Bengals will land.
When it comes to the draft, you like to see playoff teams address most, if not all of their biggest needs within the first three rounds. I preface the word 'playoff' because those caliber of teams typically don't have a lot of glaring holes, making it easy to fill them by the time Day 2 of the draft is over.
The Bengals are no different with only one gaping hole on their roster heading into the draft, but the team does have two other positions needing more depth. While wide receiver is clearly the biggest need, defensive tackle and safety are two positions that could use more depth for this season while also having more players capable of assuming starting roles in 2016.
That's why Todd McShay's latest three-round 'Grade A' mock has Cincinnati addressing those three needs with each of their first three picks. Note: This mock draft isn't McShay projecting picks it's simply him making them for three full rounds, based on what he feels is best for each team at that time in the mock draft.
Round 1 (24): Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
Round 2 (55): Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
Round 3 (87): Jeremy Cash, S, Duke
Analysis: Both Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones left in free agency, so the Bengals need to add a playmaker opposite A.J. Green. While Coleman is a little undersized at 5-foot-11, he can change directions on a dime, which gives him a lot of upside in the NFL. Clark has the strength to eventually fill the Bengals' 4-3 nose tackle position. Cash projects as a hybrid S/LB with his ability to make plays against the run.
By now, you know all about Baylor Bears receiver Corey Coleman. No one player has been mocked to the Bengals more than the All-American pass-catcher and Biletnikoff Award winner. If he's on the board when Cincinnati is on the clock, there's a good chance he's the pick.
Another position that's been mentioned as a possible area to be addressed with the 24th pick is defensive tackle, and UCLA's Kenny Clark is one of the best in this draft. Clark has been routinely mocked to teams near the end of Round 1, but with so many quality prospects at this position, there' bound to be a good one fall into Day 2, possibly far enough for the Bengals to grab the impressive tackle with the 55th pick.
The 6'3", 314-pound big man is exactly the kind of nose tackle the Bengals should draft with Domata Peko continuing to age. Peko's decline has been painfully evident in most of the Bengals' playoff losses as they've been gashed right up the middle as Peko was worn down by then.
He still has enough to be a good player and strong locker room presence next year, but the Bengals should add another tackle at the position to take the load off and eventually replace him. Clark is a great candidate to do so, and he's even been mocked to Cincy several times this offseason at 24.
As for Duke safety Jeremy Cash, many view him as the top safety prospect in this draft and a likely second-round pick. The 6'0", 212-pound torpedo has been a force at strong safety, racking up 121 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and four interceptions as a sophomore in 2013. He followed that up with 111 tackles, 10.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks and two picks as a junior in 2014.
In his senior year, Cash became a consensus All-American by registering 101 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, four pass breakups and three forced fumbles. Getting him late in Round 3 would be a huge steal and a great addition for the Bengals' secondary, especially with Reggie Nelson gone and Shawn Williams hitting free agency next year.
While Todd McShay calls this his 'Grade A' mock, what grade would you give this haul?