The Bengals always seemed to be a team that is right on the cusp. There are years where they'll sneak into the Wildcard, but their odds of actual contention for a Super Bowl are never exceedingly high. Part of this can be blamed on the overall roster, but year after year it seems the Bengals aren't good enough to make a deep playoff run yet not bad enough to call for major changes.
If only the team would move on from long-time coach Marvin Lewis. If they did that, I would have more faith than I do now in terms of their championship outlook. But since they haven't made a change at head coach in 16 years, I don't see how... wait, what? They fired him? Really? They really did it? Well I'll be.
With a new head coach and new life in the air, here's a seven round mock draft that I think would help the Bengals in a lot of ways.
Round 1, Pick No. 11: Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
In this mock draft scenario, Devin White was already gone. White has been the most common selection for the Bengals, to this point, so deviating from him is sort of like forging a new path.
If White is off the board, or even if the Bengals simply want to go a different route, I believe a player like Cody Ford would be worth their selection, even at No. 11. Ford is a versatile offensive lineman who can play both guard and tackle at the next level. He likely won't be a left tackle fit, but any other position is fair game for him to become a starter early on.
Round 2, Pick No. 42: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
Recently there have been some mock drafts that have Devin Bush being in consideration for the Bengals at No. 11. Even though I like Bush a lot, I'm not so sure he's going to go in the Top 15. Bush is a very good linebacker with great instincts against the run and the pass. He's a plug-and-play middle linebacker for this team, and there is a chance, albeit an outside chance, for him to go in the top of the second round.
Round 3, Pick No. 73: Dawson Knox, TE, Ole Miss
As much as they would surely like to, the Bengals jus cannot trust Tyler Eifert to remain healthy anymore. In his six seasons in the NFL, Eifert has played more than 13 games just twice in s single season, and the last time he did was in 2015. Knox was underutilized in Ole Miss' offense, but has a lot of potential in the passing game.
Round 4, Pick No. 104: Antoine Wesley, WR, Texas Tech
Wide receiver isn't a huge need for the Bengals, but picking one up in the early parts of Day 3, especially one as good as Welsey, should be a welcome proposition. Wesley gives the Bengals a legit outside option opposite A.J. Green.
Round 5, Pick No. 139: Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington
Though the Bengals did pick a linebacker earlier in this mock, double dipping at that position could work in their favor. Who knows what the Bengals are going to do with Preston Brown, and even if they bring him back, loading up on better linebacker depth would still help them in the long run.
Round 6, Pick No. 170: Jamal Peters, CB, Mississippi State
William Jackson is going to be a stud for this team, but I still think the Bengals could stand to take a chance at a long, physical cornerback like Peters and roll the dice on a late round pick for him to work out. Peters needs some good coaching in the NFL for technique and tendency deficiencies, but that 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame is alluring to say the least.
Round 7, Pick No. 201: JoJo McIntosh, S, Washington
McIntosh would certainly be a luxury pick, but this is the time where teams are looking to load up on depth pieces and special teamers. I think that's exactly what McIntosh can bring at the next level. He's a player who isn't afraid to fly around and make hits, and I think he'd fit right in with the defensive back group in Cincinnati, as well as become a key special teams player.