The NFL season isn't quite over but that hasn't stopped mock draft after mock draft from being published. After all, 30 of the 32 teams have their first-round draft positions set, only the Patriots and Giants are remaining and they'll split the last two picks of the first round.
First, with the No. 17 overall pick, Banks picks Alabama running back Trent Richardson for the Bengals.
This is the Carson Palmer pick, and for once we're not talking about a costly interception. The Bengals offense could use some fresh legs as a replacement for impending free agent Cedric Benson, and Richardson can help move the chains in a variety of ways.
We've seen this pick a lot and while it's understandable considering the team's struggle to run the ball in 2011, taking a running back before an offensive lineman seems, at least to me, like placing the cart before the horse. Both guard positions could desperately use an upgrade and Bobbie Williams is a free agent.
However, I would be surprised to see the Bengals pass on a running back of Richardson's caliber if he would happen to fall to them at No. 17.
Then, with the No. 21 overall pick, Banks selects Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard for the Bengals.
If the Bengals can come out of the first round with a new starting running back and another cornerback to play against all the three-wide sets in today's NFL, they'll have hit a second consecutive jackpot at the top of their draft. Maybe not in an A.J. Green-Andy Dalton sense, but it'll still rate as a huge success on paper.
This is a pick I'm more apt to get behind. With Leon Hall recovering from a season-ending Achilles injury, the only cornerback under contract worth starting is Nate Clements and at his age he's a liability in coverage. The Bengals desperately need a new cornerback for 2012 and Dennard could fit the bill.
So, what do you think about this latest mock draft?