By DJ Siddiqi @DJSiddiqi on April 16, 2014
The Cincinnati Bengals recently completed their third straight one-and-done season. It's safe to say the Bengals need to have a draft worth remembering if they hope to repeat as AFC North champions. Head coach Marvin Lewis enters his 12th season with the team but has zero playoff victories to his name. This is a make-or-break season for Lewis. Here are five rumors you need to know about.
Simply put, the Bengals' biggest needs entering the NFL Draft are all on defense. Cornerback, defensive end and safety are all positions of need. Cincy lost their top defensive end in Michael Johnson through free agency, three of their top corners are aging or coming off of serious injuries and the safety play was mediocre last season. All three positions will be addressed through the NFL Draft.
The Bengals hold the No. 24 overall selection in the NFL Draft. With defense such a pressing need, the team will go with a cornerback or a defensive end with their first selection. CB Terence Newman is 35 years old, Pacman Jones will be 31 years old in September and Leon Hall is coming off of his second serious Achilles injury in three years. The team's top pass rusher led the team with just 7.5 sacks in 2013.
Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller is the complete package at cornerback. Though he doesn't have blazing speed, he ran a 4.49 in the 40-yard-dash at the NFL Combine. He possesses ideal size for an NFL corner at 6-foot, 194-pounds. Fuller is considered one of the top three players at his position and will be available when the Bengals make their first selection at No. 24.
The Bengals currently have four quarterbacks on the roster, with two guys locked in for roster spots in Andy Dalton and Jason Campbell. Dalton has received a lot of criticism over the years for being an up-and-down quarterback. The Bengals will draft a QB in the 2014 NFL Draft, possibly even in the third or fourth rounds. If a player like QB A.J. McCarron is available in the middle rounds, the Bengals will take him.
The Bengals' most pressing need as far as personnel is concerned is at defensive end. The team simply needs an explosive pass rusher to make a difference on the defensive side of the football. The team does not have that at the moment with Carlos Dunlap and Wallace Gilberry, both of whom led the team with 7.5 sacks each. Ealy is one of the top pass rushers in this draft and will be an immediate starter for the team.
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