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Know Your Enemy: Bengals 2017 NFL Draft Preview

The 2017 NFL Draft is now just a short time away, which means that it will not be long now before we know a lot more about how each team will shape up for the 2017 season. The Pittsburgh Steelers are obviously in need of a quality draft, but the same could be said for nearly every team.

In the spirit of divisional rivalries, we are keeping our enemies closer than our friends, so for the three days leading up to the draft, we are going to be providing insight into the offseason of each of the Steelers’ rivals and what their draft needs and plan may look like.

Cleveland Browns

2016 Record: 6-9-1

Offseason Additions: LB Kevin Minter, G Andre Smith, CB Bene Benikwere

Offseason Losses: G Kevin Zeitler, T Andrew Whitworth, DT Domata Peko, DE Margus Hunt, LB Rey Maualuga, RB Rex Burkhead, LB Karlos Dansby

Draft Selections:

Round 1, Pick 9 (9)         
Round 2, Pick 9 (41)      
Round 3, Pick 9 (73)      
Round 4, Pick 9 (116)    
Round 4, Pick 32 (138) (Compensatory Selection)            
Round 5, Pick 9 (153)
Round 5, Pick 33 (176) (Compensatory Selection)
Round 6, Pick 9 (193)    
Round 6, Pick 34 (217) (Compensatory Selection)
Round 7, Pick 9 (227)
Round 7, Pick 33 (251) (Compensatory Selection)

Analysis:

When it comes to the first two days of the draft, the Bengals have nothing special in terms of extra ammunition, holding only their natural picks through the first three rounds, but those are top-10 picks at that spot, which is very notable.

But they also have some very notable needs and it’s not even obvious that they’re going to address them. after losing their two best offensive linemen they are turning their tackle positions over to their young high prospects who have yet to pan out, and they have brought back their former right tackle to start at right guard.

Though they brought in Minter, linebacker is still an area of concern. You have Vontaze Burfict, but no strong option for the third. You have Vincent Rey and last year’s third-rounder, but this can be upgraded.

The defensive line needs depth at the very least. Losing Peko wasn’t ideal, but they are hoping that Andrew Billings will step in after spending his rookie season on injured reserve. Still, they need bodies, and they need pass-rush help. Michael Johnson is just not the dynamic pass rusher they need.

After losing Burkhead, the Bengals will probably be looking at another running back. Jeremy Hill is entering the final season of his rookie contract and he’s averaged 3.7 yards per carry the last two years as well.

Wide receiver still needs help. You have your Pro Bowler, and they re-signed Brandon LaFell, who is competent, while Tyler Boyd is entering his second season.

Of course you can never count out the possibility of the Bengals drafting defensive backs, and with 11 selections, there will probably be two or three brought in. they only have four safeties currently on the roster.

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