Two things I keep reading from our CJ posters are: (1) They have to draft for value, and (2) They have to draft a _____ (fill in the blank) in the first. Sorry guys, you can't necessarily have it both ways. If two or even three corners are gone by the time the Bengals pick at #17, there might be better value at other positions. If DeCastro is gone, then there isn't a whole lot of value in picking a guard in the first round either (I'm not real enthusiastic about Cordy Glenn). If Richardson is gone, there's not a whole lot of value in picking a running back in the first round (though you could make an argument for Lamar Miller).
So who are the other guys that might be a good value at other positions in the first? Here's a couple more draftees that might make sense if they fall to us in the draft.
Courtney Upshaw (DE/OLB - Alabama) - Upshaw is projected as more of a 3-4 outside linebacker, but he has the size (6'2, 275) to play DE. He was one of the stars of Alabama's National Championship team. And, as we've seen with recent stars like Geno Atkins and Elvis Dumerville, you don't have to be 6-5, 285 lbs to be a good pass rusher in the NFL. Video: vs. LSU
Melvin Ingram (DE - South Carolina) - If Ingram is on the board, he'd be hard to pass on. He dominated the Senior Bowl and though he doesn't have the prototypical build (like Upshaw) for a DE (6'2, 275) he has elite explosiveness off the edge. I've seen him mocked anywhere between pick 8-16. He'd be a great value at 17 and could provide the consistent pass rush opposite of Dunlap. Video: vs. Nebraska
Devon Still (DT - Penn St.) - Still and Brockers (not listed) are considered the best DTs of the class. Still is a powerful disruptive force with the speed to break up plays in the backfield. He's also a versatile player who can play a 4-3 NT or the 3 technique. Video: vs. Illinois.
Luke Kuechly (ILB - Boston College) - Keuchly is sort of the anti-Maualuga, (or think of him as younger, better play making version of Dhani Jones). He's a smart player with elite instincts who always finds himself in the right spot to make a tackle or a play on the ball. Though I don't think the Bengals will be ready to move on from Maualuga yet, it might not be a bad idea to start thinking about it. Highlight Video. (I couldn't find a game video of Kuechly).
Kendall Wright - (WR - Baylor) - He's the only offensive player I'm listing here, but I included him because I think he'd be a great fit for the offense. He helped make RG3 a top QB prospect in this class because of his blazing speed and ability to make difficult catches in traffic (he's drawn comparisons to Mike Wallace). He's projected to go somewhere in the middle of the first round. What would make him a great value for the Bengals is the complimentary skills he would bring as a #2 receiver next to AJ Green. Video: vs. Washington.
Whitney Mercilus (DE - Illinois) - Mercilus (a kickass name cause it sounds like Mercy-less) lead the nation in sacks, forced fumbles and came up with almost 20 tackles for loss last year. He's a great edge rusher who has the speed to chase down RBs and get after the QB. He's projected to go somewhere in the 15-30 range of the draft and would be a great compliment to Dunlap on the other side. Video: vs. Ohio St.
I left some players out to keep this short, but this is a good start to the conversation.
If one of the guys I listed above were still around at 17 (some of them will be), they might prove to be a better value than reaching for a position of need.