Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Though Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has said re-signing right tackle Andre Smith to a long-term deal is his biggest pre-draft priority, that doesn't mean it will get done in time.
If it doesn't, the Bengals could still give him a new contract after the draft. If the whole thing simply cannot happen, for whatever reason, the Bengals aren't in bad shape with Anthony Collins and Dennis Roland behind him.
However, they could choose to address right tackle in the first round to add depth and competition.
If they choose to go this route, then Alabama's D.J. Fluker should be on the Bengals' radar. Fluker is arguably the best right tackle in the draft, and he could very well be available when they pick 21st overall.
The Bengals need a boost to their run game. While that will likely come from adding a rookie to pair up with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, a right tackle like Fluker could also be a huge help.
Fluker's best asset is his run-blocking, which has helped both Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy look like world-beaters.
If the Bengals need to move on from Smith, Fluker should be an easy plug-and-play when it comes to run-blocking.
As a pass protector, however, Fluker needs work. He repeatedly gave up multiple sacks in games in 2012, despite how quick and athletic he is.
That's not to say that he's one-note and can only run-block. However, Smith gave up just seven sacks on Andy Dalton in 2012 and Fluker, if he's taken to start, will likely give up more.
It seems a bit far-fetched that the Bengals take Fluker or any other right tackle in the first round; considering their desire to re-sign Smith and the depth already in place behind him, they might just add additional depth in a later round rather than search for a starter early on.