After an unexpected trip to the playoffs in 2011, the Cincinnati Bengals seemed to regress in 2012. Second year teammates Andy Dalton and AJ Green continued to build on the chemistry they established as rookies, yet the team could do no better than a second consecutive wild card playoff loss to the Houston Texans.
In 2013, the goal for the Bengals should be simple: advance deeper into the playoffs. And it all begins at next April's Draft, where the team should look to upgrade one or two of its biggest areas of need.
The Bengals finished the 2012 season at 10-6 (good for second in the AFC North), and advanced to the Wild Card round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season, losing to the Houston Texans, champions of the AFC South.
Positions of Need
Depth at wide receiver is a concern; however, there are still bigger issues for this team currently.
The offensive line is still a problem area, as the Bengals gave up 46 sacks last season.
Maybe the biggest area of need, however, is in the secondary. Nate Clements, an unrestricted free agent, isn't getting any younger, and safety Terence Newman, also a free agent, hasn't exactly lived up to the hype since his arrival from Dallas.
First Round Target(s)
The prevailing theory is that the Bengals will be looking to upgrade the safety position, selecting someone like Matt Elam of Florida or Eric Reid of LSU.
There is also an outside chance the Bengals try to upgrade their offensive line by selecting DJ Fluker of Alabama.
Pittsburgh and Dallas, selecting 17th and 18th, could target players in the secondary.
Chicago, with issues on the offensive line and in the secondary, should be another team to watch.
The Bengals could look to trade down, as the Vikings (multiple picks in the first round), Patriots, or Broncos, could be potential trade partners.
First Round Pick History
2012 17th pick- Dre Kikrpatrick, CB, Alabama
2012 27th pick- Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
2011 4th pick- AJ Green, WR, Georgia
2010 21st pick- Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
2009 6th pick- Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
2008 9th pick- Keith Rivers, LB, USC