The Cincinnati Bengals were one of the National Football League's surprise teams in 2011, as a team that many expected to struggle under rookie quarterback Andy Dalton went 9-7 and qualified for the playoffs.
While how they approach the former will no doubt impact the latter, here's an early look at how Mike Brown, Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati front office might approach the draft in April.
The loss of Jonathan Joseph to the Houston Texans in free agency a year ago left a hole in the Bengals secondary at cornerback opposite Leon Hall, and although Nate Clements was a serviceable replacement, Cincinnati could use an upgrade at the position.
Dre Kirkpatrick was a second-team All-American for the BCS National Champions in 2011, and the 6'3" 190-pound Crimson Tide star would immediately bolster the Bengals defensive backfield.
The interior of the offensive line is definitely an area where the Bengals could stand to improve, as neither Mike McGlynn or Nate Livings are exactly lighting the world on fire as starters.
Georgia guard Cordy Glenn is a 6'6", 345-pound monster of a man with surprising quickness for a player of his size, and the All-SEC performer would instantly provide a significant boost to Cincinnati's offensive front and running game.
Starting running back Cedric Benson topped 1,000 rushing yards for the third time in four seasons with the Bengals in 2011, but the seventh-year pro also failed to top four yards a carry for the third time in that span and has all the explosiveness of a wet firecracker.
Explosiveness, however, is not a category in which Virginia Tech running back David Wilson is lacking, as the 2011 ACC Player of the Year averaged nearly six yards a carry while piling up over 1,700 rushing yards for the Hokies.
Cornerback isn't the only position in the secondary that Cincinnati needs to address in the offseason.
Free safety Reggie Nelson is a free agent coming off a career year, and strong safety Chris Crocker is a journeyman who was exposed badly in the Bengals' postseason loss to the Houston Texans.
Winston Guy racked up 120 tackles and was a second-team All-SEC performer as a senior in 2011, and the 6'1" 216-pound Guy is a solid tackler and capable downfield defender who would challenge for a starting spot as a rookie.
As fantastic a rookie season as wide receiver A.J. Green had, the Bengals still need to add talent at the receiver position to complement him, especially in light of fellow wideout Jerome Simpson's not-insignificant legal troubles.
Florida International wide receiver T.Y. Hilton topped the 1,000-yard mark on 72 catches for the Golden Panthers, and the 5'10" 183-pounder's blazing 4.4 speed would add another dimension to the Cincinnati passing attack as well as bolstering the return game.
Rey Maualuga was drafted three seasons ago to be the middle linebacker of the future for the Cincinnati Bengals, but to this point Maualuga has been a relative disappointment, failing to top the 90-tackle mark in a season.
Senior linebacker James-Michael Johnson logged 100 tackles and was a second team All-WAC selection in 2011.
The 6'1" 249-pound Johnson would at least provide the Bengals with some depth at linebacker and might eventually challenge Maualuga to start in the middle.
Center Moe Petrus is a two-time All-Big East standout for the Connecticut Huskies, starting 52 games at both guard and center over his collegiate career.
Petrus is a "Husky" all right, at 6'2" and 302-pounds, and as we stated guard, is position of need for the Bengals, who would at the very least get much-needed offensive line depth by spending a late fifth-round pick on Petrus, who is coming off a strong showing in the East-West Shrine Game.
It's a Wolfpack reunion in the Queen City, as for the second time in three rounds the Bengals to look to the University of Nevada for defensive help, this time selecting 6'4" 280-pound defensive tackle Brett Roy.
Roy was a first team All-WAC pick in 2011 after racking up 65 tackles and nine sacks last year, and with Pat Sims set to hit free agency, Roy would provide Cincinnati with depth at defensive tackle behind Domata Peko and Geno Atkins.
When you start talking about the 212th pick in the National Football League Draft, you're either looking for a home-run play or trying to add depth at a position where you're thin.
The Cincinnati Bengals may actually be able to do both by selecting Hampton cornerback Micah Pellerin, as the 6'0" 195-pound transfer from Southern Miss has the physical tools to develop into a viable NFL cornerback if allowed some time to develop.