GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02: Andrew Luck #12 and David DeCastro #52 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrate after Luck threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz #86 in the third quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Ready for another pre-NFL combine mock draft (that literally means absolutely nothing) to be shoved down your throat? Well ready or not, here it comes. CBSSports.com's Pat Kirwan's most recent mock draft has the Bengals filling two major needs in the first round, guard and cornerback.
First, at No. 17, Kirwan has the Bengals selecting Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.
Bengals lost Jonathan Joseph in free agency and Leon Hall went down because of an injury, one of the best CB tandems in the league was lost. Every team in the NFL is looking for big corners to match up with the receivers coming into the NFL. He has some off-field issues but Mike Brown has taken that risk before.
I like Kirkpatrick and I think that if he's on the board at No. 17 (depending on who's available also) the Bengals most likely select him. He's a big cornerback and has enough speed to stay up with some of the league's fastest receivers. If Leon Hall comes back healthy, a combination of Kirkpatrick and Hall would be nice to see, even if it's some time down the road.
Then, with the No. 21 overall pick, Kirwan has the Bengals selecting Stanford guard David DeCastro.
It is early to take a guard but if the Bengals want to protect Andy Dalton and run the ball better this is a wise choice.
So here's one of the scenarios in which I wouldn't take Kirkpatrick with the 17th pick: If DeCastro and Kirkpatrick are available, I'm going DeCastro earlier. Luckily, in this mock draft, he was still available at No. 21. DeCastro is this draft class' best guard and the Bengals desperately need a new guard since the only ones on the roster (right now) are Otis Hudson and Clint Boling.
This is a good mock draft, at least Bengals fans should be happy. However, I could see how both Kirkpatrick and DeCastro could be selected before the Bengals go on the clock with the 17th overall pick. To me, this is best case scenario, and we, as Bengals fans, know that best case scenarios don't become reality very often.