The Cincinnati Bengals are bursting with draft picks for this year's NFL Draft. Not only do they have two first round picks thanks to the Carson Palmer deal, but they now have three selections in the fifth round thanks to last year's trade of Chad Ochocinco and this week's dealing of Keith Rivers to the New York Giants. That gives Cincinnati quite a bit of leverage to get a targeted player in the middle of the draft.
One option the Bengals might have is to package the picks in order to move up in one of the middle rounds if a player is there that they highly covet. One such player might be Coastal Carolina cornerback Josh Norman. Norman is a big, physical corner who many scouts view as a diamond in the rough. He's good in man or zone coverages and is strong enough to play the run effectively. With Cincinnati's depth at the position, making a run at a player like Norman, allowing him to develop under Mike Zimmer and Mark Carrier might not be a bad idea.
If the Bengals keep the picks, several attractive players, albeit with question marks, will probably be available in round five. Here are five that might fill a need for Cincinnati:
Bruce Irvin, DE West Virginia: Irvin has a checkered past, including dropping out of high school, but has a tremendous upside on the field. He could play either as a standup outside linebacker or pass rushing specialist at defensive end. If he can put his past behind him, Irvin may have a monster NFL career. He ran a 4.5 40 at the combine and had the fastest cone drill time. With three picks in the round, Irvin might be worth a flyer.
Jarius Wright, WR Arkansas: Wright wasn't the most highly touted of the Arkansas trio of receivers in this year's draft, but he may be the best. He doesn't fit the "tall, rangy" mold of an AJ Green or Calvin Johnson that will dominate the upper rounds, but Wright can run routes from the slot and can flat out fly. Scouts compare Wright to Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown. Bengals fans know all too well the kind of damage Brown can do from the slot when matched up with a nickel corner or safety.
Cliff Harris, CB Oregon: Harris was an All-American candidate at corner and return specialist before being dismissed from the Oregon team for driving 100 mph with a suspended license. He's a major character risk to be sure. But again, with three picks in the round, the Bengals are actually in a position to take a chance on a player with Harris' potential.
AJ Jenkins, WR Illinois: Jenkins is one of those receivers who is more "quick" than fast. He could be an ideal slot receiver for a team. He's known for running good routes and has the height and leaping ability to make him dangerous in the red zone. Depending on where the Bengals go earlier in the draft and how confident they are in Jordan Shipley's recovery from an ACL tear, a player like Jenkins could be a nice addition.
Dan Herron, RB Ohio State: Even with the addition of BenJarvus Green Ellis, the Bengals are likely to select a running back somewhere in this year's draft. Herron would represent a raw "project" who could improve at the next level with good coaching. He's got good power and a low center which makes him difficult to bring down in the open field. Major questions exist with regard to his pass protecting ability to catch out of the backfield, which may be a big turnoff for Jay Gruden. Herron also missed half of 2011 as part of Ohio State's "Tatgate" scandal.
Tags: Cincinnati, Cincinnati Bengals, Football, NFL