Are you sick of all of the mock drafts yet? We're not. It's the offseason and the speculation as to where the Bengals will be going in free agency and the draft is just underway. The staff was in attendance for the Senior Bowl last Saturday and got an up-close view of some college prospects on their radar. For a team that went 9-7 last year, there's a lot of holes to be filled for 2012.
Wes Bunting of The National Football Post is their well-respected draft analyst and he has posted his latest mock draft. With their two first round picks, Bunting has the Bengals taking two talented prospects at skill positions, which is becoming an increasingly popular opinion.
At No.17 (the pick acquired from the Oakland Raiders), Bunting has the Bengals taking Alabama running back, Trent Richardson.
Running backs always seem to fall on draft day and the Bengals get a steal at 17. Richardson has the ability to be the workhorse back in Cincinnati for the next 5-7 years and gives the Bengals another talented young skill position player.
Something tells me that Richardson won't be available to the Bengals at either pick in the first round, but we'll have to see how it all shakes out. If the Bengals were to land the consensus top running back prospect in this year's draft at No. 17, it would be a great value.
For the No. 21 pick, Bunting has the Bengals taking the controversial cornerback out of North Alabama, Janoris Jenkins.
Jenkins is a bit undersized and he does have some character concerns. However, he’s a fluid kid with a "plus" initial burst and when motivated he’s about as tough as any corner in the draft to separate from.
There's no doubting Jenkins' talent. Had he not had any off-field issues, he'd likely be a top-ten pick in this year's draft. Even though he had a solid Senior Bowl week, his stock will fall on draft day and he will most likely be available to the Bengals at this pick. The position is definitely a need, so I could see this scenario playing out--after all, Mike Brown does like to draft skill players in the high rounds of the draft. It just depends on if the Bengals want to stay away from the players with character questions or not. They've done so recently, but with an extra first round pick in their arsenal they could decide to take a gamble.