The Cincinnati Bengals entered the 2010 NFL Draft with a number of needs to address. After winning their first division title since 2005, the Bengals look for their first back-to-back winning season in 28 years.
After a successful start to free agency, the Bengals knew their next step was a successful draft. They selected nine players over seven rounds and filled numerous areas in need of improvement.
Here's six players who could make a splash during their rookie seasons with the Bengals.
Not only have the Bengals never had an effective pass-catching tight end during the Carson Palmer era, but they were in desperate need to add weapons to last year's 26th-ranked passing game.
Lucky for them, Jermaine Gresham is the solution to both problems.
Mel Kiper described Gresham as a "big wide receiver" who can cause all sorts of problems for opposing defenders by spreading the middle of the field.
Many teams were afraid to take a gamble on him because of a knee injury that made him miss the entire 2009 season.
However, if his performance at the Combine is any indication of what's to come, the Bengals may end up with a steal at No. 21 in Gresham.
The argument can be made Carlos Dunlap could have been a top-10 pick had he not been arrested for driving under the influence last December.
The incident caused teams to pass on him because of his lack of maturity...which is why he fell to the late second round.
Defensive end was one of the top areas to focus on in the draft for Cincinnati to add more effective pass rushers to Mike Zimmer's defense.
Despite his troubled past, it was the fact that a player with the talent Dunlap possesses was still available as late as he was in the second round is why the Bengals drafted him.
In his final two seasons at Florida, Dunlap finished with a combined 70 tackles and 18 sacks. If Marvin Lewis can keep Dunlap's head straight, this could be another steal for the Bengals.
Many wondered if the Bengals would use their first-round pick on Oklahoma State standout Dez Bryant.
When they selected Gresham instead, it was only a matter of time before they added another weapon at wide receiver for Palmer to throw to.
Enter Jordan Shipley.
During his last two seasons at Texas, Shipley recorded 205 receptions for 2,545 yards and 24 touchdowns. He pertains a similar set of skills that some analysts are comparing to Wes Welker of the New England Patriots.
Shipley has a chance to have an immediate impact during his rookie season and start as the slot wideout for Cincinnati...which is pretty good for a late third-round draft pick.
The chances of Brandon Ghee starting at cornerback for the Bengals in 2010 seem slim as long as Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall stay healthy.
However, this pick seems more of an insurance policy in case one of the two starting cornerbacks signs with a different team next season.
For now, secondary coach Kevin Coyle told Bengals.com told Geoff Hobson that Ghee will compete for the nickel corner job during his rookie season.
He has the size and speed to make an impact next season after a stellar career at Wake Forest in which he started 34 out of 36 career games.
The Bengals selected Dunlap in the second round to add another effective pass rusher for Zimmer's defense. They did the same in the fourth round by adding defensive tackle Geno Atkins.
Atkins was named All-SEC three times and has excellent quickness off the snap, but has drawn criticism for his struggles to fight off blocks. During his senior year at Georgia, he finished with just three sacks.
Along with Shipley, the Bengals managed to snag two wide receivers ranked in the top-10 at their position after selecting Dezmon Briscoe in the sixth round.
The former Kansas wideout finished his three-year career with 218 receptions for 3,240 yards and 31 touchdowns.
For the second time in the draft, Cincinnati gambles on a talented player with a troubled past...which may be the reason why he fell so late in the sixth round.
Hopefully, the risk pays off for the Bengals.