The 2015 AFC North draft preview continues its journey to Cincinnati to preview one of the more polarizing teams in the NFL. The Bengals seem to be the bridesmaid of the NFL, sometimes the maid of honor, but never the bride. With a challenging schedule, 4 picks in the top 100, and question marks at several positions, it will be curious to see which direction the Bengals go.
10-5-1, Second in the AFC North, Playoffs: First Round loss at Indianapolis (26-10).
LB A.J. Hawk, DE Michael Johnson, DT Pat Sims, WR Denarius Moore, G Clint Boling (re-signed), DT Devon Still (re-signed), LB Rey Maualuga (re-signed), LB Emanuel Lamur (re-signed), and WR Brandon Tate (re-signed).
21, 53, 85, 99, 120, 135, 157, 197, and 238.
Defensive Line, Offensive Line, Wide Receiver, Linebacker, Safety, and Quarterback.
The Bengals are another total mystery at times in the AFC. Dubbed as a regular season contender and playoff pretender, the Bengals need to shed their “one and done” image. The league has patiently waited for Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton to take that next step, but there hasn’t been any postseason wining since 1990. To their credit, the past decade has been good to the Bengals, making the playoffs 6 of 10 years. With an impatient fan base and double digit free agents in 2016, the Bengals must win in the 2015 draft.
The Bengals are coming off of a strange year. A.J. Green missed significant time while 2013 first round pick Tyler Eifert missed all of 2014 with an elbow injury suffered Week One versus Baltimore. To boot, tackling leader Vontaze Burfict underwent microfracture surgery this offseason and missed most of 2014, and number two receiver Marvin Jones also missed the year due to injury.
With all of that, the Bengals drafted well in 2014 bringing on board Jeremy Hill, Darqueze Dennard, and James Wright among others. The Bengals have drafted very well over the past four to five seasons and Duke Tobin and company will certainly address needs early and often in the draft.
With both Tackles becoming free agents in 2016 and the Bengals having the lowest sack total of any team in 2014, It will be interesting to see which direction they go come Thursday night.
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