Feb 28, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick runs the 40 yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
The opening of free agency has obviously influenced the way the 2012 NFL draft will play out, especially the first round. In recent mock drafts, the Bengals have taken guards, cornerbacks, running backs and even wide receivers with one of their two first-round picks.
In SB Nation's latest mock draft, put together by Ryan Van Bibber, the Bengals don't break too far from the mold.
With the No. 17 overall pick, the Bengals are predicted to select.....
Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.
The Bengals added Jason Allen in free agency to give their secondary some quality depth. Even Pacman Jones came back to round out the unit. Kirkpatrick gives the defense a blue chip cornerback that should mix well with the current group.
Kirkpatrick is a big cornerback that could help solidify the team's secondary. Leon Hall is still coming back from an injury and he may not be back to 100 percent when the season starts. If that's the case, a guy like Kirkpatrick could be extremely important to the team.
Then, with the No. 21 overall pick, the Bengals select Boise State running back Doug Martin.
Receiver might be a better option here, given the recent devaluation in running backs. Martin and the recently acquired BenJarvis Green-Ellis would form a nice one-two punch on the ground for the Bengals.
A backfield consisting of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bernard Scott and Doug Martin could be incredibly effective in the AFC North. Martin seems to have what it has to take to be a productive back in the NFL and with a productive running game that draws defenses in, Andy Dalton and A.J. Green may have some extra room to work downfield.
What do you think of this mock draft?