2014 NFL Mock Draft Countdown: Cincinnati Bengals, No. 24

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Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State (1)

Sep 28, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Ryan Shazier (10) pumps up the crowd during the fourth quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio Stadium. Buckeyes beat the Badgers 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Ward:

"The Bengals are one mean and nasty linebacker away from having one of the NFL’s scariest three-man linebacking tandem. More and more teams are going away from the 4-3 style of defense that the Bengals play, but the Bengals, at times, make a good case for sticking with it. With Vontaze Burfict on one side, Rey Maualuga in the middle, and Shazier on the other side, this group would be mean. It never hurts for your local fan base to have a natural fit going from Ohio State into the Cincinnati squad, and this guy plays with a mean streak. His ideal fit is an outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. Other teams might try to squeeze him in elsewhere, but if the Bengals take him at No. 24, look for this kid to make some noise in 2014."

Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State (1)

Russell Griffin:

"The Bengals have one of the top defenses in the league, so I look for them to bolster a passing game that at times struggled, outside of the superstar WR they have in A.J. Green. Andy Dalton continues to perform well during the regular season, but falter in the playoffs. Dalton is a player who needs play makers around him to succeed and with the 24th pick they select WR Brandin Cooks to help fill the void of a no.2 WR. Cooks would take some of the load of off AJ Green, who pretty much is their only viable outside receiving threat"