If you take stock of Cincinnati's cornerback situation, you have Leon Hall. While head coach Marvin Lewis provided an optimistic forecast on Hall's rehabilitation, until he's on the field and performing at 100 percent without a worry regarding re-aggrevation, Hall will remain questionable at the start of the regular season -- based on what we know right now, which could change as we near the preseason in August. You have Adam Jones and Kelly Jennings becoming free agents on March 13, Nate Clements turning 33 years old this year and the inexperienced Brandon Ghee, who has spent most of his NFL career injured or on the team's practice squad.
For those reasons its generally accepted that the Bengals will select a cornerback with one of their two first-round selections during the 2012 NFL Draft. Many have Cincinnati selecting North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins during the pre-free agency mock drafts, though there is a worry that red flags could limit that possibility.
Don Banks with Sports Illustrated writes:
For Jenkins, some of the measurables that might wind up mattering most when it comes to his draft grade are these: Three arrests, one failed drug test, one bar fight, two different college programs and four kids, all age 3 or younger. Kicked off the University of Florida team by new Gators head coach Will Muschamp in April 2011, after his second marijuana-related arrest in three months, Jenkins, 23, spent his senior season at Division II North Alabama, playing in obscurity.
NFL teams, presumably including the Cincinnati Bengals, asked Jenkins about his off-the-field issues and for his part, the cornerback prospect answered honestly.
"(They asked) about my past, the off-field issues, what happened at Florida, and how did I end up at North Alabama?'' Jenkins said. "I was honest, straightforward, and told them I did it. I admitted to everything. Took full responsibility, and that I learned from it.
Teams are obviously throwing up red flags, according to Jason Cole with Yahoo! Sports.
"It’s a lot [of issues], that’s all I can say," said an AFC defensive coordinator whose team is in the market for a cornerback. "I can tell you I’ll be studying him as a player. Where it goes from there, who knows? But it’s a really good question.
"I know we haven’t decided what to do with him," an AFC executive said. "We might take him off our board. I know there will be three or four teams that will take him off right away, at least for the first round."
Said an NFC team executive: "You want to hear if he has a plan to deal with it. He might convince you that he has it under control."
What’s the likelihood of that?
"I wouldn’t expect it to be real high," he said. "Most of these guys don’t know what to do with the first dollar they make. If this kid could follow a plan, he wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. … I know this movie. It usually doesn’t end well."
Mike Mayock says that someone will take a gamble on the cornerback, but other teams have already likely removed him off their boards.
"Every team is a little different," Mayock said. "Some teams will look him in the eye and convince themselves the kid is really going to change a little bit. Other teams are going to say he's never going to change his spots. That's who he is. What happens is the more talented kids get more chances and Jenkins is a pretty talented kid and somebody is going to buy into that.
"They’re all going to say the same thing. ‘I’ve grown up. I’m sorry.’ That’s kind of the message. ‘I’ve grown up. I’m sorry.’ Now, do you buy into that? And here’s the key. Just like medical, at what level do you buy in?. At a first-round price? At a second-round price? At a fourth-round price? Every team’s different that way. I already know some teams have certain players off the board. I’m not going to give you any names. But I know some teams have some players already off the board. ‘I’m not dealing with that player.’ Whether it’s medical or off the field. Some teams say, ‘That’s a first-round pick, I don’t care.’ Other teams say, ‘He’s off the board.’ And there’s a bunch of teams in the middle somewhere."