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Conway: Dee Ford should be Bengals' target in draft's first round

Monday's pro day news was pretty much the following: Teddy, Teddy, Teddy.

OK, that wasn't the only thing that happened, but it's understandable if you've suffered from Teddy Bridgewater overload. It probably won't end soon, but there are plenty of other things you can look forward to.

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For Cincinnati Bengals fans, they are surely looking forward to this draft producing the missing pieces that can get them over the hump and result in a playoff victory. NFL Network's Curtis Conway thinks he knows who would be the perfect fit for the team in the first-round.

(And no, it's not Teddy, for those anti-Andy Dalton folks out there.)

"I think they're going to go to the front four, and that's at defensive end," Conway said on "Path to the Draft" on Monday. "They lose Michael Johnson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so that leaves a spot open, and I like Dee Ford, the young man out of Auburn."

The Bengals pick 24th overall and sit in a good position to land a pass rusher based on the needs of teams ahead of them. Ford and Missouri's Kony Ealy have been two players that mock drafts have the team targeting, and it's not hard to see why. Johnson was lost to free agency, and the re-signing of Taylor Mays suggests Marvin Lewis won't target a safety with his first selection.

Ford is ranked as Mike Mayock's third best defensive end prospect in the draft and has seen his stock take off in recent weeks as scouts have had a chance to dive into his film.

"He's explosive off the line," Conway said. "Some may say he's a little short, at 6-foot-2, in stature, but guess what -- we've seen guys like Dwight Freeney flat out get after that quarterback at 6-1. (Ford) can get around big tackles and get after the quarterback while playing the run.

"Speed is what's going to affect the pass rush in this day and time, especially with these quarterbacks dropping back 40 times a game."

Going after a player of Ford's stature would represent a bit of a change for the Bengals, who have used taller rushers such as Johnson, who is 6-7, and Carlos Dunlap, who is 6-6. Unless the team opts to go for a young corner or offensive lineman at the top of the draft, though, a player who can get after the quarterback figures to be the way the club will go in May.

Ford impressed at his recent pro day and might just be the player who helps the Bengal faithful get over their playoff drought.

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