Tuesday, February 12, 2013
More ideas on Cincy's first-rounder
By Tim Kavanagh
At this point of the NFL offseason calendar, it can be difficult to project exactly what teams will do with their draft picks, as some needs will be met in free agency. However, for teams that are already amongst the NFL's postseason contenders, they may elect to go with a "best player available" strategy, and so their behavior in the free agent market won't necessarily impact what they do in April. On the other hand, for a team like the Cincinnati Bengals -- which could be losing some key veterans this offseason -- their projections may change considerably between now and opening night of the draft. Nevertheless, it's never too early to go through a rundown of some possibilities.
Thanks to the deal that sent disgruntled QB Carson Palmer to the Oakland Raiders, the Bengals had some extra draft picks in 2012 and 2013. They converted their extra first-rounder last season into CB Dre Kirkpatrick, who didn't produce much during his rookie campaign, but who is being counted on to play a substantial role in the seasons ahead. This time around, they've got an extra second-rounder (No. 37 overall), which means they have the capital to move up in the first if they do fall in love with a particular player. Based on the NFL trade value chart -- which does not guarantee a pick's value, but rather serves as a guide for possible moves -- the No. 37 pick is worth 530 points, meaning that Cincinnati could move from No. 21 overall to as high as No. 10 overall.
As far as who they might be interested in, Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal has some suggestions, based upon perceived needs at S, DE, OLB and RB. In Lewis' view, the Bengals may be targeting Texas S Kenny Vaccaro, UCLA DE Datone Jones, Georgia LB Alec Ogletree, Alabama RB Eddie Lacy and Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o.
An interesting group, though the Bengals may have to move up in order to secure some of them. In Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest mock, Te'o and Ogletree are off the board at No. 21, and Cincinnati tabs Vaccaro. In Todd McShay's, Te'o, Ogletree and Vaccaro are both taken ahead of No. 21, and Cincy grabs Lacy:
Mel Kiper, Jr.Mock Draft V2.0
"This is just a big need spot for the Bengals. Reggie Nelson rated out pretty well for them, but the drop-off is significant from there. What you get in Vaccaro is a player who upgrades at either free or strong safety. Given Nelson's presence, Vaccaro should step in and be the Week 1 starter at strong safety. The Bengals need help at linebacker, and Vaccaro can actually offer that kind of presence, because he's a physical defender who can play in the box and defend the run effectively, or drop into coverage. He's a solid value here and fills a need."
Todd McShayMock Draft V2.0
"This is too high for Lacy in my opinion, but some believe he's worth a top-20 pick and if Cincinnati has a high enough grade on him it would make sense from a needs standpoint. I would rather see the Bengals address a different position, but they've used so many early-round picks on players at key positions (QB, OL, WR, DL, CB, TE) in recent years that they might be able to afford a luxury pick like this. Defensive end could also be an option if the right player were available."