My most recent mocks have been my opinion and moved away from what the intel has said they will do. After Burrow elite receiver or defense is the pick at 33 and then preferably defense again in the third round. They are higher on the offensive line and RG may be the only draftable position on the line. On defense they have openly talked about trying to move to a 3-4 and this is where they would try to do it. They got a legit NT this offseason so they may really be moving to a 3-4 most of the time. I also double dip at some positions which is something most teams do not do in the draft. Joe Goodberry has also sort of cracked the code at what the Bengals like to pick for a few positions I recommend following him on twitter. This time I am using fanspeak and a newly updated big board from Matt Miller.
2.AJ Epenesa DE Iowa-I think edge is a sneaky need that most fans haven't thought about. I too have rarely picked an edge player in my mocks. Carlos Dunlap is 31 years old, Carl Lawson is an ultra-talented player but because of how often he is injured he is not dependable. Sam Hubbard is everything you can want in a player but you need more than one young dependable guy. Epenesa was available and could be during the draft. He lacks athletic upside as a DE but was very productive and has great size. Epenesa fits perfectly as a 3-4 5-tech, which is somewhere between a DT/DE. He would be big enough to demand attention in the run game but still good as a rusher. His poor combine could drop him to the second. A player not available but the more I think about it makes perfect sense here is Zach Baun. He is a true 3-4 OLB/Edge rusher who could start from day 1. If Denzel Mims or Patrick Queen arent available look for Epenesa or Baun as the picks.
3.Jordan Brooks LB Texas Tech-A new name and somebody who fits what the Bengals look for in a LB. When they draft LBs there are normally two requirements, having very good tackle production and being over 230 pounds. Brooks is 6'0" 240 and was a 4 year starter with nearly 100 tackles every season. He was extremely fast running a 4.54 in the 40. Brooks is very similar to what Germaine Pratt was as a prospect. Brooks could use a year of development like Pratt did but with Pratt taking over one spot and Bynes being the standard down backer Brooks could play in the pass then play most of the time in year 2. This is a way to address LB without spending a premium pick on a position that isnt that important.
4.Robert Hunt OG Lousiane Lafeyette-Somebody I am starting to fall in love with. 6'6" 325 but played tackle in college. Is a good athlete for guard but needs some refinement to meet his potential. Because of his natural gifts he would be able to start right away while trying to get to his ceiling. Would slot into RG in year 1. The Bengals dont like to put a lot of resources into guard and a fourth rounder would be the best way to fill it.
5.Troy Pride CB Notre Dame-They signed Mackenzie Alexander as the nickel corner but it was only a 1 year deal. Drafting Pride would allow them to start working on their next nickel corner. He is smaller at 5'11" 193 but very fast running a 4.40. He had a good senior bowl but pretty poor tape. He struggles with playing deep balls so keeping him in the slot in this scheme could allow him to do what he is best at, being athletic and physical.
This seems like a realistic draft for the Bengals. I think 33 is going to be an edge player with Epenesa/Baun as the most likely. In the third if they can get a LB that they think is serviceable in a division with Lamar Jackson and the Browns skill group they will take him. They left RG open to be filled in the draft so that has to be a pick at some point. Robert Hunt in the fourth is a dream. Alexander on a 1 year deal really makes it obvious nickel corner is draftable, Troy Pride likely cant play outside in his career which will make him a pretty good value and realistic in the fifth. A lot of fans want receivers and offensive tackles and a star linebacker, but I think a draft like this is what it would take for the Bengals to get back to the type of team they had in 2015.