NFL Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals 7-Round Mock Draft: Post-Combine Edition

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Cincinnati Bengals 7-Round Mock Draft: Post Combine Edition

Cincinnati Bengals - Mock Draft
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The Cincinnati Bengals won the AFC North last season by three games with a final record of 11 – 5. However, three of their losses came to other AFC North teams. On top of that negative statistic, the Bengals fell out of the NFL playoffs at the hands of a team that only made it to the playoffs on luck, the San Diego Chargers.

The Bengals have a few big problems on both offense and defense that head coach Marvin Lewis and owner and GM Mike Brown must address this offseason. However, Cincinnati is really only a few key players away from a consistent spot in the NFL playoffs for the next few years.

The 2014 NFL Draft is as good a place as ever to pick up talented players that could end up being with the team for a long time. The Bengals biggest needs are at cornerback, where they lack depth and their starters are getting on in age, and the offensive line, where the inability to block at times causes Andy Dalton to make bad decisions. Both of those are very deep positions in the draft and Cincinnati could find a couple players that immediately get playing time with the team.

Here is a 7-round mock draft for Cincinnati where I tried to focus not just on the best fit for the team and best case scenarios, but also on players that should be available when the Bengals make a pick. Feel free to comment in the section below with any players who you think might be a good fit for the Bengals in the 2014 NFL Draft, as well.

Taylor Sturm is a Columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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Round 1 (Pick 24): CB Jason Verrett – TCU Horned Frogs

Jason Verrett - NFL
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Verrett looks like he should be able to start in the NFL almost immediately. He’s a very underrated player with a huge upside.

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Round 2 (Pick 23): LB Ryan Shazier – Ohio State Buckeyes

Ryan Shazier - NFl
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

A big, NFL-ready linebacker, Shazier could get immediate playing time for the Bengals.

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Round 3 (Pick 24): S Ahmad Dixon – Baylor Bears

Ahmad Dixon - NFL
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

A popular criticism of the Big 12 is that teams don’t know how to play defense. However, with spread offenses that rack up a lot of yards, safeties like Ahmad Dixon learn to tackle quickly. His reaction speed, positioning and tackling could lead him to play for Cincinnati as early as game one.

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Round 4 (Pick 23): DE Josh Mauro – Stanford Cardinal

Josh Mauro - NFL
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most consistent defenses in college football belongs to the Stanford Cardinal. Mauro is a perfect example of a player that could eventually be a full-time starter in the NFL.

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Round 5 (Pick 24): QB Aaron Murray – Georgia Bulldogs

Aaron Murray - NFL
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Dalton is either fantastic or terrible with very little in-between. Expect the Bengals’ to reach for a QB sometime in the draft. Murray had an off year, but has always been a big NFL target. He had a poor combine, so he could end up this late in the draft. In Dalton’s case, sometimes a little competition can be good.

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Round 6 (Pick 23): OT Justin Britt – Missouri Tigers

Justin Britt - NFL
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri’s offensive line didn’t get a lot of credit last season, but they did a very good job protecting a running quarterback. Britt is the type of player that could be molded to fit whatever style of play his coach wants.

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Round 7 (Pick 24): CB Phillip Gaines – Rice Owls

Phillip Gaines - NFL
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Gaines probably won’t start any time soon, but he’s a good player that should at least make the practice squad. He could be an asset down the road to boost the Bengals’ aging cornerback corps.