After a short period of reflection and relaxation, Marvin Lewis and the Bengals will start looking towards the 2013 draft, where they will hope to build upon their deflated roster.
While the second successive loss in Houston was at times painful to watch, it did give us a clearer indication of what the Bengals need to do in the draft.
One such concern going forward is at middle linebacker. Rey Maualuga is officially a free agent and it's not yet clear whether the Bengals are leaning toward replacing him or re-signing him.
Maualuga was disappointing in the playoff loss, a fact that he acknowledged postgame. However, rather than drafting a middle linebacker to replace him, we could see the Bengals hand the position to Vontaze Burfict, and draft someone to play on the weak side.
Another glaringly obvious point of need is at running back. BenJarvus Green-Ellis has done a good job in 2012, but he doesn't scare the opposition or do enough to warrant a lion's share of carries.
When the Bengals wanted to change things up on Saturday they brought in Brian Leonard, who did just about nothing. This made the already obvious need to draft an RB a point of certainty.
The real difficulty comes with where to take an RB. It's a notoriously boom-or-bust position, and the Bengals will have to be careful not to waste a top pick on a class that doesn't have any truly first round talent.
So where else did the Bengals show need for improvement? The secondary is still a concern, and with safety Chris Crocker a stopgap at most, Cincy needs to start lining up a replacement. And before you say it, Taylor Mays is not the guy to do it.
You could also make a case for adding another defensive end. The Texans did enough on the ground to stop Michael Johnson and Geno Atkins having a real impact, but the unit remains one of the NFL's best. The Bengals need to retain free agent Michael Johnson and add another name to the list if they want to make their dangerous pass-rush a special one.
Once again the Bengals will pick at the No. 21 spot, which they traded down from last year to pick Kevin Zeitler at No.27. They also have the fifth pick of the second round thanks to Carson Palmer and the Oakland Raiders.
Cincinnati has put together some solid draft classes in the last few years, and once again the pressure is on to repeat that success.
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