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NFL Mock Draft: Mel Kiper gives Bengals new pass rusher

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The Bengals must upgrade their pass rush, ideally in Round 1.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals were at UCLA’s Pro Day on Tuesday, perhaps to scout a candidate for the No. 9 pick.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper just put out a new mock draft, and he has Bruins pass-rusher Takkarist McKinley landing in Cincinnati.

9. Cincinnati Bengals - Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA

The addition of free-agent middle linebacker Kevin Minter makes me think the Bengals won't take Reuben Foster, whom I had going to Cincinnati in Mock Draft 2.0. Pass-rusher is still in play, though, and McKinley is one of the most explosive in this class. At 6-2, 250, he's not huge, but he is suited to play end in today's NFL. Put McKinley in the rotation with Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson and Will Clarke, and the Bengals have a stellar foursome.

McKinley is regarded as one of the top defensive end/outside linebacker prospects in this draft. He racked up 10 sacks and 18 tackles for loss this past season and would be a nice upgrade for to the Bengals’ enigmatic pass rush.

The problem is, McKinley fits the tweener mold the Bengals typically stay away from, especially early in the draft. It’s hard to see Cincinnati going against their tendencies and taking a tweener this high, even if McKinley is a top-10 prospect.

I think it’s far more likely a guy like Taco Charlton, Solomon Thomas or Derek Barnett is taken here than McKinley. Those guys have frames more in line with what the Bengals like their defensive ends to have coming out of college.

But if the Bengals want to go against their tendencies, perhaps McKinley is a guy who they can use as a hybrid outside linebacker who lines up at defensive end on obvious passing downs. McKinley is an athletic freak who has drawn comparisons to DeMarcus Ware.

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein got these thoughts from an NFL scout and offered up a strong comparison for McKinley.

SOURCES TELL US "He was my sleeper headed into the season, but that went out the window with the season he had this year. I think he's a second rounder who needs time but he'll probably get overdrafted. He's going to be a productive pro." - AFC area scout

NFL COMPARISON Tamba Hali

When you have names like Ware and Hali tossed around, you can see why McKinley is so highly regarded and why he may be in play for No. 9. Still, I doubt he gets any real consideration for the pick. He’s just not what the Bengals want in their pass rushers.