On Wednesday, Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft of the 2011 NFL Draft season, selecting Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers with the team's fourth overall draft pick. This has been met with, at most, trepidation among Bengals fans, for several reasons. Some do not believe he's the best pass rusher on the board, while others are comfortable enough with the roster of Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson and Geno Atkins. But mostly, people are too enamored with Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green.
Those same people will love ESPN's Todd McShay. Around the same time that Kiper picked Bowers, McShay selected A.J. Green (ESPN In$ider) as the team's fourth overall pick.
The Bengals need to find the heir apparent to Carson Palmer at some point but won't find him in this scenario. With Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco likely on their way out of town, Green would be an ideal replacement. He is very smooth for his size and plays the ball better than any receiver in the 2011 class.
It's arguable if the Bengals would be wasting a draft pick at a position that's relatively young -- aside from Chad, the most experienced wide receiver is Andre Caldwell -- while the team has more pressing needs elsewhere. It's also arguable if the current Bengals coaching staff could really help a young receiver grow within the timeframe before impatience sets in. Jerome Simpson was thought of as a bust during his rookie year, because he caught one pass and Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson, selected a few picks after Simpson, exploded during his rookie season. However, the counter argument to that is value, especially considering that safety will be the most depleted position on the team. Yet drafting a safety with the team's fourth pick could be viewed as a stretch because the value isn't believed to be there.