Feb 28, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Mark Barron watches others workout during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Since free agency has opened, some of the biggest named players have been taken off the board. None of those big-named players were signed by the Bengals, but in the last three days, Cincinnati has signed three players: guard Travelle Wharton, cornerback Jason Allen and they re-signed free safety Reggie Nelson. Free agency will inevitably change the way the draft plays out. For the Bengals, signing Allen or Wharton probably won't change the team's need to draft a cornerback or guard with a high pick.
For the most part, the Bengals take a guard and cornerback, sometimes a running back, with their two first-round picks. However, in SB Nation's latest mock draft, put together by Ryan Van Bibber, the Bengals take a cornerback and a safety in the first round.
First, with the No. 17 overall pick, the Bengals select Alabama safety Mark Barron.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland), Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Safeties are in high demand this year, but the quality of available talent is lacking, which is a win for Mark Barron. Once he assures teams about his injury concerns -- he recently underwent a double hernia surgery -- his draft stock should only rise.
With the team's re-signing of Nelson, Barron could fight with Taylor Mays for the starting strong safety job and with the addition of a cornerback and the return of Leon Hall, the Bengals could finally have a strong secondary to go along with a tough front seven.
Speaking of the addition of a cornerback, with the team's second first-round pick, the Bengals select South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
21. Cincinnati Bengals, Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
The Bengals avoided chasing the big ticket corners in free agency, probably a wise move given their two first-round picks. Gilmore's physical style of play and coverage skills fill the void left by Johnathan Joseph after last season.
Gilmore is a guy who climbed up a lot of draft boards since the combine. He could at least contribute as the team's third cornerback right away and eventually take over the starting job opposite of Hall.
The question is whether or not the Bengals think that the signing of Travelle Wharton is good enough to not select another guard in the first round.
So what do you think about this particular mock draft?