As the days creep toward free agency, and eventually the 2017 draft, there's one main question surrounding the Cincinnati Bengals.
What position do they take in the draft?
Judging by the latest mock drafts from ESPN analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay: It's all defense early.
Kiper has the Bengals selecting Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster in his second mock draft with the ninth overall pick. In his first mock draft, Kiper had the Bengals taking Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas.
Fellow ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay had also had Thomas going to the Bengals in his latest mock draft.
Truthfully, either position makes sense for Cincinnati, as the Bengals need to improve their pass rush and solidify their linebacking corps.
The Bengals need to surround linebacker Vontaze Burfict with players of equal caliber. Karlos Dansby, who is set to become a free agent at age 35, wasn't the answer, and the Bengals would save $3.6 million by releasing Rey Maualuga, who is in the final season of his contract.
Foster was the best linebacker in the country in 2016, and led Alabama with 115 tackles. He would also be a significant upgrade in terms of speed, as Dansby and Maualuga both showed signs of slowing down in 2016.
However, Foster recently had surgery on his right rotator cuff, with a reported four month recovery time, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan.
That might give the Bengals pause.
Of course, it all depends on their own medical staff's evaluations, and the Bengals are often a patient team when it comes to developing young players. If Foster's recovery drags into the season, the Bengals might be OK with that.
However, the Bengals have been bitten by the injury bug lately with their rookies. Their first round cornerback William Jackson III and fourth round defensive tackle Andrew Billings suffered preseason injuries last year and spent the season on IR.
2015 first-round tackle Cedric Ogbuehi missed his first offseason while recovering from an ACL tear, and much of last offseason with a toe injury. That could have potentially led to his struggles as a right tackle in 2016.
Free agency will tell a lot here. If the Bengals keep Maualuga or sign a linebacker, it might be a sign that they feel they're in a position to take their time developing at this spot. It could also say they don't feel anyone else on the roster is ready to step up yet.
Otherwise, they could be expecting a young player such as P.J. Dawson or Nick Vigil to take a huge step forward. Either way, the Bengals need to inject some life back into this position. The 6-foot-1, 228-pound Foster could inject some athleticism back into a position desperately need of some revamping.