Mock draft season is really heating up with just two weeks left until the real draft begins.
ESPN's Mel Kiper expanded his latest mock draft to three rounds for all 32 teams. At the top, he's following the common belief that Jameis Winston goes No. 1 to Tampa Bay while Marcus Mariota goes No. 2 to Tennessee.
As for the Cincinnati Bengals, he has them grabbing a defensive end with their first pick, followed by an offensive tackle, receiver and tight end, getting arguably the four biggest needs before Day 3 even begins.
Top needs: DE, LB, OT, WR/TE
Round 1 (21) DE Bud Dupree, Kentucky
Round 2 (53) OT Donovan Smith, Penn St.
Round 3 (85) WR Tre McBride, William & Mary
Round 3 (99) TE Jeff Heuerman, Ohio St.
Analysis: I'm committed to adding a pass-rusher, and Dupree isn't exactly a steal at No. 21, but I figured it was only a 50-50 shot that he'd get to this point, so it's not a difficult call given how bad the pass rush was last season. He doesn't come in with an arsenal of moves, but he's an exceptional athlete and certainly adds upside where we're currently lacking it. Smith started over 30 games at left tackle for Penn State, but I have him pegged to compete for a starting guard spot. In Rounds 3 and 4, I'm trying to add some new elements to the passing game. McBride was a big-time playmaker at his level and is a speedster in workouts, though I don't think he's an immediate-impact guy. But when we had some injuries last season, the depth chart at WR became a problem. Heuerman is one of the few tight ends in this entire draft who combines good athleticism with the ability to actually block. He has the ability of a player who could come off the board much earlier, so I like the bet on his potential at No. 99.
Whether you like those players or not, getting those positions addressed before Day 2 ends would be a great way to start the draft, especially if Bud Dupree is the first pick. Most mocks now have him firmly in the top 16, and it would be a surprise to see him on the board when the Bengals make their first selection.
Over at CBS, Chris Trapasso did a seven-round mock that also begins with Winston going No. 1 to Tampa Bay. However, Trapasso has USC's Leonard Williams going No. 2 to the Titans, not Mariota, who falls to Washington after they move up to No. 5 to get their new QB.
Oh, and Trapasso also has Dupree falling to Cincinnati at No. 21:
The Bengals' pass rush flopped in 2014 and although they reunited with Michael Johnson, they need more electricity on the edge. They undoubtedly get that with Dupree, a scary athlete who needs some fine-tuning when it comes to sharply turning the corner.
For their second-round pick, Trapasso gives the Bengals defensive tackle Grady Jarrett from Clemson:
Jarrett's game is comparable to Geno Atkins. The Bengals like Geno Atkins but want Geno Atkins Insurance. Jarrett does it all.
Here's how the rest of his mock went for Cincinnati:
85. Cincinnati Bengals: Jeff Heuerman, TE, Ohio State
99. Cincinnati Bengals (compensatory): Rob Havenstein, OT, Wisconsin
120. Cincinnati Bengals: Jordan Hicks, OLB, Texas
135. Cincinnati Bengals (compensatory): DeAndre Smelter, WR, Georgia Tech
157. Cincinnati Bengals: Jordan Richards, S, Stanford
180. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jeff Luc, ILB, Cincinnati
197. Cincinnati Bengals: Brock Hekking, EDGE, Nevada
238. Cincinnati Bengals: Terrence Magee, RB, LSU
It's easy to see the link between the Bengals and most of the picks Trapasso made. Heuerman has played college ball just a few hours from Cincinnati at a position where depth is needed. Havenstein has privately worked out for the Bengals. Hicks was one of 25 players at Cincinnati's local Pro Day this week, as was Luc.