A closer look at the positions the Cincinnati Bengals could target at the NFL combine in Indianapolis:
Positions of need: The Bengals must make their offensive line their first priority after allowing 80 sacks in two seasons. The Bengals don’t have much stability at that position with center Russell Bodine potentially becoming a free agent and their two tackles remaining big question marks. However, tight end and middle linebacker could also be positions of need. Tyler Eifert is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, and with his injury history in the past two seasons, there’s no guarantee the Bengals will re-sign him. While Tyler Kroft had a good season last year, the Bengals should be looking for a No. 1 tight end. Middle linebacker is also a hole as well, and it was a position the Bengals looked into last year in the first round.
Three players the Bengals should focus on at the combine:
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech: The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Edmunds has a rare combination of size and athleticism for his position, and the combine could really be his time to shine. Although some have projected him to play outside in the NFL, his athleticism probably would allow for him to play in the middle as well. The Bengals have tried to get younger and faster at linebacker, and adding someone like Edmunds would be an upgrade, regardless of where exactly he fits. He’s someone they’ll want to eye during combine workouts.
Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA: ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper projected the Bengals to take Miller at No. 12 overall in his latest mock draft, and they are certainly in the market for a tackle. However, Miller has only one full season of experience at left tackle and there are questions about whether he projects as a left or right tackle in the NFL. There are certainly a few reasons why the Bengals probably would like to see him up close.
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State: The 6-5, 255-pound Goedert comes from a small school, but he managed to make a name for himself as one of the best receiving tight ends in this draft. The Bengals’ offense was at its best when it could rely on Eifert as a red zone threat, and Goedert certainly showed off his capabilities in that area in college. Goedert had 18 receiving touchdowns in his last two seasons and also had back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
Vontaze Burfict can’t escape league discipline.
The Bengals linebacker was fined $12,154 for unsportsmanlike conduct for kicking Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix in Cincinnati’s loss to tPittsburgh.
Burfict has a history of unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness toward the Steelers. Following the 2015 AFC wild-card showdown between the two AFC North rivals, Burfict was suspended three games for delivering a shoulder hit on a defenseless Antonio Brown.
Elsewhere in the AFC, Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters was fined $9,115 for a hit against Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, one that led to the one-game suspension of Marshawn Lynch who made contact with an official in the ensuing scrum.