As we have progressively advanced closer and closer to the 2011 NFL Draft, The Cincinnati Enquirer's Bengals beat writer, Joe Reedy, has come out with four mock drafts detailing where he thinks certain prospects will go in the first round. In the first three, Reedy had the Bengals selecting Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green twice and Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert once.
On Monday, Reedy came out with his fourth mock draft and went back to his original pick, Green.
The more we look at the best candidates when the Bengals go on the clock, there are three who stand out — Green, Jones and LSU CB Patrick Peterson. Quarterback and defensive line would be a slight reach at this spot and there aren’t any offensive linemen worth Top 5 consideration.
With the first pick, Reedy predicts that the Carolina Panthers will select Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. Then, with the second overall pick, he thinks that the Denver Broncos will select Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller. Then he thinks that the Buffalo Bills will use their No. 3 overall pick on Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. Next, at the fourth spot, Reedy believes the Bengals will pass up Gabbert and select Green, leaving Gabbert to fall to the Arizona Cardinals at the fifth spot.
Green could come into Cincinnati and become the new No. 1 receiver for the Bengals. It's likely that the Bengals will save themselves a couple million dollars by not bringing Chad Ochocinco back for the 2011 season and it would leave the Bengals will only Jordan Shipley under contract after the 2011 season (both Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell will be free agents after 2011). Green's skills as a receiver could also help a rookie quarterback adjust from the college game to the professional game.
The draft, only three weeks away now, will likely be the primary means of filling holes in any team's roster due to the fact that the NFL is still in lockout mode and teams will be unable to utilize free agency.