NFL Combine: Who are some of the top prospects at Bengals’ positions of need?

In this image provided by CMU Athletic Communications, Central Michigan offensive lineman Bernhard Raimann lines up against Robert Morris during an NCAA college football game on Sept. 11, 2021, in Mount Pleasant, Mich. Raimann grew up in Austria and, like many European kids, he was initially into soccer. But he signed up as a teenager to play with the Vienna Vikings, an American football club team. Tall and gangly, he was originally a wide receiver. (Steve Jessmore/CMU Athletic Communications via AP)

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In this image provided by CMU Athletic Communications, Central Michigan offensive lineman Bernhard Raimann lines up against Robert Morris during an NCAA college football game on Sept. 11, 2021, in Mount Pleasant, Mich. Raimann grew up in Austria and, like many European kids, he was initially into soccer. But he signed up as a teenager to play with the Vienna Vikings, an American football club team. Tall and gangly, he was originally a wide receiver. (Steve Jessmore/CMU Athletic Communications via AP)

The Cincinnati Bengals have clear needs on the offensive line after quarterback Joe Burrow took a league-high number of sacks and ended up playing through multiple injuries as a result.

That area could be addressed through the draft, but with the AFC champions drafting at No. 31, taking an offensive lineman in the first round isn’t a given. The Bengals might just be looking at best-available player at that point.

This week at the NFL Combine, the organization has a chance to scout out and interview some of the talent available in this year’s draft. The Combine begins Tuesday at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium and continues through March 7.

Cincinnati’s biggest positions of need include the offensive tackle, offensive guard/center, cornerback and interior defensive line. The Bengals also could consider adding another running back to groom for the future.

Below is a look at some of the top prospects at positions of need for Cincinnati that could be candidates where the Bengals are picking late in the first few rounds.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan: NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah has the Bengals taking Raimann at No. 31 in his latest mock draft on NFL.com. He noted Raimann had an up-and-down week at the Senior Bowl but has “all of the tools to be a quality right tackle.”

Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa: A surprising athlete for his 6-foot-7, 321-pound frame, Penning showcased his skills during the Senior Bowl and is considered among the top five in a strong class of offensive linemen this year. He earned a 94.2 overall grade from ProFootballFocus.com and a 97.2 run-blocking grade.

Zion Johnson, G/C, Boston College: Johnson spent two years at Davidson before tearing it up at Boston College for the past three years. The 6-foot-3, 314-pound beast blocks with effortless power and shows good balance while constantly moving his feet.

Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana-Lafayette: A right tackle with long arms, Mitchell is “a stellar athlete with an accurate punch that helps him initially control defensive linemen,” as Chris Trapasso noted on CBSSports.com. He is 6-6 and 300 pounds and could be a quality starter.

INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINE

Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia: If the Bengals get what they need for the offensive line in free agency or there’s not a great O-line option available at No. 31, they could look at the defensive line options. A solid interior pass rusher, Wyatt is considered by some as the highest floor defensive tackle in this class. He’s got a quick first step and great closing speed to go along with power and good moves to shake his blocker.

Travis Jones, DT, UConn: At 6-foot-5 and 333 pounds, Jones is a space-eating nose tackle, but he can be a little more than that. He racked up 25 pressures and 21 run stops on the season and played well at the Senior Bowl.

Neil Farrell, DT, LSU: Farrell could be an option in the third or fourth round if the position is still a need at that point. He’s 6-foot-4, 325 pounds and equally strong in the run and pass game. He had 19 hurries and one sack last year and had just two games with below-average grades from PFF.

CORNERBACK

Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida: A competitive, physical corner, Elam is the nephew of Matt Elam, who was picked 32nd overall by the Ravens in 2013. He’s 6-foot-2, 196 pounds and has long arms, which he uses well to minimize passing lanes and contest 50-50 balls.

Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn: The 6-foot, 190-pound cornerback is super disruptive and CBSSports.com ranks him as the fourth best cornerback in this draft class. He isn’t the ideal size for a lockdown outside corner, which the Bengals need, and might be better suited for a nickel role, but he has the quickness, competitiveness and experience to stack up against almost anyone at his position in this year’s crop.

Mario Goodrich, CB, Clemson: Goodrich could rise up boards over the next few months but currently projects as a Day 2 or 3 pick. The Bengals tend to prioritize explosive athletic traits at the cornerback position, and Goodrich fits that bill with light feet and he can play inside or outside.

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