April 28th can't get here soon enough as that's when the 2016 NFL Draft kicks off.
As we round up the latest round of mock drafts, it's becoming more clear that wide receiver should be the position addressed in Round 1. However, there's no real consensus as to which receiver that Cincinnati lands with the 24th-overall pick.
24. Cincinnati Bengals - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
For the Bengals, there's nothing wrong with settling on the fourth-best wide receiver in the draft. Coleman is another big play wideout in this draft who will stretch the field. He can get open over the top with his speed or use it to gain separation on short, quick throws. Don't be surprised if Will Fuller from Notre Dame is in play here, too.
Coleman was also who USA Today Sports' Nate Davis gave the Bengals in his latest first-round projections.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor: Like Notre Dame's (Will) Fuller, this speedster could open the field for WR A.J. Green and TE Tyler Eifert while replenishing the wideout depth Cincinnati lost during free agency.
Over at Sports Illustrated, Chris Burke went with Thomas at the 24th pick as the Bengals stay close to home with the Buckeye star.
24. MICHAEL THOMAS, WR, Ohio State
The Bengals certainly will not complain if the draft rolls to pick 23 with Doctson and Thomas on the board. Thomas would give them a perfect No. 2 to rack up catches as defenses try to shut down A.J. Green.
24. STERLING SHEPARD, WR, Oklahoma
With Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones departing in free agency, the Bengals are in danger of sending out A.J. Green and the Pips against opposing secondaries in 2016. Selecting Shepard would give Cincinnati two receivers in one—not only is he a very credible outside man, but he has the potential to dominate in the slot. He’s an undersized but very physical receiver who should fit right in.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller did a bit of a changeup this week with first-round projections based on what he's hearing from his NFL sources vs what he thinks should happen.
Any mock draft you read from me will be based on what I'm hearing from my sources around the league. But this week I'm switching it up with a side-by-side mock draft featuring what I'm hearing and what I would do as the GM of each team.
What Will Happen: 24. CIN—WR Corey Coleman, Baylor
What Should Happen: 24. CIN—WR Will Fuller, Notre Dame
It's worth noting that his 'what will happen' projections have Thomas, Doctson, Ole Miss' Laquon Treadwell and Notre Dame's Will Fuller off the board at this point, leaving Coleman as the best receiver available.
Miller's 'what should happen' projections have Thomas, Doctson, Treadwell and Coleman off the board, leaving Fuller as the best receiver left. Interestingly, both of his projections have Thomas going 12th-overall to the New Orleans Saints, so it's looking like the Buckeye receiver won't be there for Cincinnati to draft.
But that's not what the Cincinnati Enquirer thinks. Not only do they have the Bengals landing Thomas, but trading back to the 27th-overall pick to do so, not to mention why they don't think Fuller gets the nod if he's still on the board.
27. Cincinnati: WR Michael Thomas (Ohio State)
Many argue Thomas to be the most NFL ready of all of the receivers in this draft. Production suffered slightly due to quarterback dynamics last year with the Buckeyes, but few doubt his polished route-running, slick moves after the catch and sure hands. Thomas only dropped five passes the last two seasons for the Buckeyes, according to Pro Football Focus.
If Doctson were available at 24, I’d make him the pick, but increasingly it seems that won’t be the case. Certainly if Coleman and Treadwell are also gone, the desire to move back and select Thomas comes into play.
Will Fuller was available at 24 and in this scenario also would be later in the round. Despite his 4.32 speed, I can’t see the Bengals bringing in a player with as many drops as the Notre Dame wideout endured. They need reliability to move the chains more than anything opposite A.J. Green.
Thomas would enter immediately, slip into the rotation of top receivers alongside veteran Brandon LaFell and help the Bengals forget about the departure of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu.
At this point, I agree with going Thomas over Fuller. Both are talented receivers who would make immediate impacts for the Bengals next year, but Thomas offers far more upside and can end up being a variety of different players, whereas Fuller is a one-trick pony likely to fall into the class of speedsters who don't do much else, such as former Buckeye Tedd Ginn Jr.
Of all the above projections, which receiver do you like most for the Bengals?