Mel Kiper Mock Draft Version 1.0: Cincinnati Bengals Select Corner And Running Back

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Lamar Miller #6 of the Miami Hurricanes rushes during a game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Mel Kiper Jr is often acknowledged the de facto draft guru in many circles (though I'm sure many of you will take exception -- *cough, Joe Goodberry, *cough). If you need to ask who he has the Colts selecting first overall, you're apparently reliving your high school days during World History class where you snoozed away the entire Enlightenment Age. Kiper has Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon going second to St. Louis, USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil going third to Minnesota, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III going to Cleveland and Alabama running back Trent Richardson going fifth to Tampa Bay.

As for the Bengals...

Much like the early drafts we've seen, Kiper's first mock draft (ESPN In$ider) addresses cornerback and running back for the Cincinnati Bengals. With the 17th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, Mel Kiper has the Bengals selecting Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard.

It says a lot about last year's draft that Cincinnati can put the focus back on defense with one of its first-round picks in 2012. Dennard is a solid, physical cover corner who would offer a talent upgrade in the secondary. The Bengals could go a few directions here, but after getting a decent year out of veteran Nate Clements, they should look at getting a younger player who can develop even as he helps early. Dennard fits the bill.

With the 21st selection of the 2012 NFL Draft, Kiper has the Bengals selecting University of Miami running back Lamar Miller.

Cedric Benson has been serviceable for the Bengals, but they desperately need to add some explosiveness in the run game. Even with what I considered an underrated offensive line, the Bengals managed just 3.9 yards per rush attempt this season. With solutions now in place in the passing game, they are one of the teams that can afford to take a shot on a potentially elite running back in the first or second round. Miller can run inside but also break off the big run, something the Bengals never got with Benson.

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