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Bengals NFL Draft: First-round wide receiver wasn't meant to be

Throughout the predraft process, the experts and analysts bulldozed our daily lives with the point that Cincinnati will select a wide receiver in the first round. They didn't. What happened?

Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Perhaps wide receiver was Cincinnati's primary target during the 2016 NFL draft. If that were the case, Thursday night's first round played out in such a way that receiver would have been a bad pick -€” or at the very least, a stretch.

Of the first top 20 selections, Corey Coleman was the only receiver off the board, selected 15th by Hue Jackson's Cleveland Browns, leaving an assortment of players Cincinnati could choose. It looked like Cincinnati would be in a good position to secure a receiver they liked.

Then things heated up.

Houston, Washington and Minnesota, the next three teams picking, drafted receivers -€” the Texans even swapped first round picks with Washington, losing a 2017 sixth-round pick in the process, to draft Will Fuller. In hindsight, unless Houston was convinced Washington was selecting Fuller, it didn't even matter as the Redskins drafted Josh Doctson and the Vikings snagged Laquon Treadwell .

"The other teams got players they felt like would be productive in the league, but that's the way the draft works," head coach Marvin Lewis said when asked about the depletion of first-round receivers prior to Cincinnati's selection.

It was clear that Cincinnati needed a detour, presuming they were obsessed with a first-round receiver, toward a position of greater value at No. 24, as opposed to reaching for someone who bordered on first-round talent.

A chorus of fans wanted UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, who entered the NFL draft with a "degenerative" knee issue and made manners worse when he (bone-headedly) admitted this week that he might require microfracture surgery. While fans were willing to risk it, it doesn't seem like the Bengals, who might be weathering "knee issue" fatigue right now, were.

"He was part of the process, just like we do everything. We follow the draft board as we see it. We felt more comfortable at this point going with Willie, so that's what we did," defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said of Jack. "Our job as coaches is to grade the players for what they are. We have fine doctors here that will make those calls on whether they're guys we can take, or their risk or non-risk."

By addressing cornerback during the first round of the 2016 NFL draft, the Bengals addressed a presumed "need" that many didn't see coming -€” articulating a perspective that most people don't really know what they're talking about when composing pre-draft predictions; it's fun but a complete waste of time and internet resources. Of the 105 mock drafts we tracked, zero had William Jackson III as the Bengals' pick.

On Friday, the draft will resume at 7 p.m. and the Bengals will continue addressing positions that are (or are not) needs. Wide receiver, a presumed need after the departures of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, could gain focus depending on how things play out (obviously). With Brandon LaFell being applied as a Band-Aid solution for an offense depleted at receiver, Cincinnati figures to draft a receiver.

Also in play are defensive tackles, a pass rusher, and perhaps an interior offensive lineman (with Russell Bodine slow to develop and Kevin Zeitler's contract expiring). Based on everyone's track record when predicting draft picks, the Bengals will probably address tight end in the second round. We're kidding...

...or are we?