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Brace for another offseason of round 1 wide receiver talk for Bengals

You can conveniently watch Mike Williams tonight in the college football playoff championship game.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Ohio State vs Clemson Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Last offseason, the large majority of mock drafts saw the Bengals selecting a wide receiver in round 1 of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Then the unexpected happened. The Browns took Corey Coleman with the 15th overall pick and then between picks 21-23, three receivers flew off the board, leaving the Bengals with no worthy receiver to draft at pick No. 24. Instead, the Bengals had to wait until Round 2 to grab wide receiver Tyler Boyd and took cornerback William Jackson III in round 1, surprising everyone.

Every mock draft that included a round 1 receiver to the Bengals, of which there were legitimately hundreds (if not thousands), was deemed useless, as was the amount of time we all spent daydreaming about the round 1 receivers.

Boyd ended up having a solid rookie season, the best we’ve seen from a rookie in Cincinnati since A.J. Green was drafted with the No. 4 overall pick in 2011. Boyd caught 54 passes for 603 yards and 1 touchdown and added 58 yards on the ground. His touchdown numbers, or lack thereof, was the only element that left more to be desired in his rookie season, though, that depends on your expectations. One thing that Boyd is not though, is a speedster who can stretch the field. As such, his longest catch during his rookie season went for 30 yards. With that in mind, the Bengals could be looking to draft a speedy receiver in this year’s NFL Draft.

The Bengals’ wide receivers under contract for 2017 are Green, Boyd, Cody Core, Alex Erickson, James Wright and 2016 practice squad players Jake Kumerow and Alonzo Russell. The only player from 2016 not on that list is Brandon LaFell. who signed a one-year deal with the Bengals last offseason. His pending return shouldn’t greatly impact the Bengals’ decision to draft a receiver who meets their needs. As such, we could very likely be facing another offseason of plentiful discussion surrounding the Bengals’ wide receiver unit and the potential to draft a wide receiver in round one with the No. 9 overall selection.

In SB Nation’s latest mock draft, the Bengals grab wide receiver Mike Williams out of Clemson in Round 1.

9. Cincinnati Bengals - Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Key needs: WR, DE, MLB, LT

A.J. Green is the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL, but do the Bengals really have a difference maker at the position beyond him? At defensive end, the Bengals need a good bookend for Carlos Dunlap, and Margus Hunt and Will Clarke have failed to break out. The Bengals could really use an inside linebacker next to Vontaze Burfict with Rey Maualuga potentially being an offseason cut. Cedric Ogbuehi has been a disappointment at left tackle thus far.

At Clemson, Williams has had two 1,000 yard+ seasons, his sophomore and senior seasons, which sandwiched a 2015 season in which Williams was injured in the Tigers’ season opener. He sustained a scary neck fracture that saw him carted off the field. But, he certainly bounced back in 2016. This season, Williams has 90 catches for 1,267 yards and 10 touchdowns. He'll look to bolster those numbers in Clemson's Championship game tonight against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Would you want the Bengals to select Williams in round 1?