With the lion's share of free agency past, the Cincinnati Bengals now turn their attention to finalizing their draft board for April 26th's NFL Draft. Looking at the collection of mock drafts being done across print and electronic media, there's a wide variety of ideas on how the Bengals will go with their picks at 17 and 21.
The most popular pick for the Bengals is Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. Even though the Bengals went out and signed Jason Allen and brought back Adam Jones, until Leon Hall actually shows he's recovered on a football field, the Bengals won't be assured that he can return. Even if Hall is back healthy, Kirkpatrick would represent a bigger, more physical option at corner than any of the others on the roster. And as we've seen with teams increasingly using four and five wide sets with bigger, more athletic receivers and even tight ends, no team can truly have a surplus of good cornerbacks.
The position most likely to be addressed by the Bengals with one of their two picks is guard. Even with the acquisition of Travelle Wharton from Carolina, the position is still the most in need with regard to quality and depth. Stanford's David DeCastro would be the first choice, but he is slated to be gone before the Bengals pick at 17 in most mock drafts. Cordy Glenn from Georgia is the other choice at guard. If neither is available, or if a player falls to the Bengals who is higher on their board, the team might pass on this position until later rounds and rely on Clint Boling to lead the way into training camp.
One of those positions that could entice the Bengals is at wide receiver, one of the few areas that the team didn't address in free agency. Although Marvin Lewis was emphatic at the owners' meetings that the team was very happy with what they had at receiver, it's doubtful that this draft will pass without the Bengals picking up another wideout.
Baylor's Kendall Wright had an impressive pro day and could be available at 17 or 21 as well as South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery. The temptation of putting a bookend burner opposite AJ Green could be too much to pass up if the right player is there.
One of the more interesting prognostications came from Evan Silva at Pro Football Talk. Silve actually projected the Bengals trading up in the draft to get Alabama RB Trent Richardson. That scenario is highly unlikely given Mike Brown's reticence to trade up in the draft and the Bengals' acquisition of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. It would not be surprising, however, to see the Bengals go after another running back in round three or later.
Look for Sports Media 101's mock draft coming soon. We'll be managing the Bengals' picks. Let us know on Twitter and Facebook who you think we should focus on.
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