Bengals Mock Draft 12.0: Taking a national sampling as LB still in play, but DE, WR in mix

NOTE: Since the 2016 Bengals regular season ended has taken a look at different mock draft and draft scenarios for the team each week, including the second full seven-round mock draft (with projected compensatory picks and highlights of each player) last week, and this is the latest in the series:

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Just because the Bengals signed free agent linebacker Kevin Minter doesn't mean the team still won't be in the market to draft one fairly high, and perhaps even in the first round.

Minter only signed a one-year contract and, even after his signing, the position is still a bit thin.

He is expected to start at middle linebacker in place of Rey Maualuga, who saw his playing time dwindle sharply in 2016 due to injury and unproductive play.

The only other proven linebackers on the roster are standout Vontaze Burfict (who hasn't played a full season since 2013 and played just 26 games the last three seasons combined due to injury and suspension) and Vinny Rey, who is best utilized in a utility role rather than as a starter.

Second-year player Nick Vigil will likely push for a starting spot on the outside, while Marquis Flowers has primarily only played special teams and 2015 third-round pick P.J. Dawson was waived in the final cut last season and then re-signed to the practice squad.

The bottom line is the Bengals still need more quality players at the position even after signing Minter.

Several Mock Drafts have the Bengals still selecting Alabama middle linebacker Reuben Foster in the first round, including the one I did last week prior to the team signing Minter. Among those who have the Bengals taking Foster are:

The Bengals could also use an upgrade at one of the defensive end spots where veteran Michael Johnson is coming off two unproductive seasons in which he had 8.5 sacks combined.

With that in mind, Daniel Jeremiah of has the Bengals selecting Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett. Chad Reuter of selected Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen, whose stock has moved up and down several draft boards of late. Rob Rang of went with Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton.

There is also the possibility the Bengals draft a wide receiver in the first round even after the team re-signed veteran Brandon LaFell.

Even though he didn't participate in the Scouting Combine due to recovery time from ankle surgery Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis is the Bengals pick by (click here for its full seven-round Mock), and of three analysts: Pete Prisco, Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson (click here for their Mock drafts).

Josh Norris of Rotoworld also has the Bengals selecting a wide receiver in the first round: Washington speedster John Ross.

Earlier Mock Draft Stories

Here is a link to each of the 10 previous Mock Draft stories from this offseason:

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