NFL Cincinnati Bengals

5 Potential First Round Scenarios For The Cincinnati Bengals

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5 Potential First Round Scenarios

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The Cincinnati Bengals, after now three consecutive failures to win in the postseason, are in a win-now mode for the upcoming 2014 season.

With two new coordinators in place after both Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer were hired as head coaches elsewhere, the pressure is now on head coach Marvin Lewis, who still has zero playoff wins in 11 seasons as head coach, and quarterback Andy Dalton, who despite being given plenty of offensive weapons in the draft and free agency, has performed poorly in these three postseason games.

In an ever competitive AFC North that features recent Super Bowl champions in the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, the window of opportunity for the Bengals is closing faster than most think. With the Ravens and Steelers expected to be better than last year's 8-8 campaigns for both teams, the Bengals can't afford to think that the AFC North is theirs for years to come.

While the offense currently in Cincinnati has some good pieces in place and the defense is still as solid as they have ever been, this year's draft could be the year where these picks turn the Bengals into true contenders in 2014, or the year where the Bengals begin yet another painful rebuilding project.

Offense should be the side of the ball that should be addressed this year, as the Bengals' defense has carried the team in recent years. The defense has performed good enough in the postseason, yet the offense has failed to compensate on three great opportunities.

These are my top five scenarios for what the Cincinnati Bengals should do in the first round in the 2014 NFL Draft in May.

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5. Trade Out Of First Round, Select LSU QB Zach Mettenberger

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The biggest stretch occurs here. In three consecutive seasons, Andy Dalton has failed to reach the divisional playoffs despite plenty of talent around him.

With Dalton scheduled for free agency, if he doesn't get past the wild card round, I think the Bengals would let go of him. Why not look for a quarterback who could give Dalton some competition in LSU's Zach Mettenberger? Mettenberger most likely will have a redshirt season after his torn ACL late in the season, but when healthy, he can be the best quarterback of this class.

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4. Trade Down, Select Washington Tight End Austin Seferian-Jenkins

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Washington Huskies tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is one of the most talented tight ends out of the 2014 class.

With current Bengals starter Jermaine Gresham scheduled for free agency in 2015 and last year's first-round tight end Tyler Eifert in place, Gresham's value has been greatly diminished and has not played to expectations.

With Seferian-Jenkins and Eifert, the Bengals still keep their two tight end package and get a better receiving threat than Gresham.

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3. Stand Pat, Select Florida State Wide Receiver Kelvin Benjamin

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With the depth that Cincinnati has on their whole squad, the Bengals can afford to take the best player available, regardless of position.

Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin has measurable that very few receivers have. Benjamin is 6-foot-5, 243 pounds, which is uncharacteristic for most wide receivers.

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2. Trade Down, Select Ohio State Running Back Carlos Hyde

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Running backs are not expected to be picked in the first round, yet the Bengals should explore trading back and selecting a running back with their first pick.

Ohio State's Carlos Hyde is a bruiser who can pound between the tackles and get the tough yards. Current starter BenJarvus Green-Ellis is scheduled for free agency in 2015 and is nowhere near the player he was in New England.

Hyde would form a great backfield tandem with versatile back Giovanni Bernard.

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1. Trade Up, Select USC Wide Receiver Marqise Lee

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Marqise Lee would give the Bengals another star-caliber player that could play opposite A.J. Green.

While Marvin Jones is the incumbent No. 2, few expect Jones to duplicate his 2013 season where he caught 10 touchdown passes.

Lee comes from a pro-style offense atUSC, and is one of the few rookies who are prime candidates to be a starter from day one.

The Bengals are only a few pieces away, so trading up wouldn't be too detrimental to this already talented team.