The mock draft scene is constantly in flux. Team needs change, player rankings fluctuate, and, as stated by the so aptly titled latest mock draft from SB Nation, Peyton Manning finds a place to play. When the free agency period begins March 13 and teams aim to fill positional holes with marquee talent, the draft outlook will shift even more. Draft predictions changed after the combine and they'll change again in two weeks, but as it stands SB Nation's Ryan Van Bibber has Cincinnati selecting a familiar name at No.17.
That familiar name that has constantly been linked to the Bengals is Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick. On Cincinnati's Kirkpatrick selection, Van Bibber says,
Even the Bengals draw the line at dealing weed, sending Jerome Simpson off to greener pastures. But Kirkpatrick is no weed dealer, just a typical twenty-something that got caught up in the drug war. Who hasn't been there a time or two? Big and physical, Kirkpatrick will fit right into the Bengals' defense, filling the void left by Johnathan Joseph.
Kirkpatrick is widely accepted as the second best cornerback in the 2012 draft class, and while he does come with some baggage (offseason drug arrest), his troubles are minimal compared to fellow first round cornerback prospect Janoris Jenkins. Recent updates on Kirkpatrick state that he did not interview well at the combine, and that a positional switch from cornerback to safety is a possibility. Cincy Jungle's Joe Goodberry detailed Kirkpatrick's strengths and weaknesses in his latest scouting report, saying, "Maybe Kirkpatrick is that CB/S hybrid that NFL teams are looking for to play free safety. If he is an NFL safety, I think he shows every skill to be a Pro Bowl safety in a few years."
At No. 21 is another familiar name, but a peculiar pick considering who is also on the board. The pick: Miami running back Lamar Miller. Running back is undoubtedly a need this offseason, so the selection of Miller makes sense. But is the hole at running back greater than the hole at guard? Most Bengal faithful would certainly say, no. On Lamar Miller and the Cincinnati Bengals, Van Bibber says the following:
This sure looks like a reach with the declining value of running backs, but this might be Cincinnati's only option for getting the best player they can find at the position, in the draft or free agency. Miller is a speedster who will pair well with Bernard Scott.
His speed and tremendous upside make Miller an intriguing prospect--one whose value to the Bengals I previously discussed--but even Van Bibber acknowledges this pick is a reach. The player passed on? Georgia offensive guard Cordy Glenn, who is often linked with the Bengals around the 21st selection as well.
Based on who you ask, the more pressing need could be guard, and Glenn fits the role of a player that the Bengals often target as an ideal fit for the position. Van Bibber has Glenn going at No. 22 to the Cleveland Browns, mentions his potential value to protecting Colt McCoy, and also says:
Glenn has the makings of an elite guard. He also looks like he can legitimately play on the outside in the NFL as well.
The team's needs are constantly changing and if Cincinnati ponies up to get Carl Nicks, then drafting Lamar Miller at No. 21 makes perfect sense. But as it stands, Cincinnati has massive offensive line trouble. Selecting Trent Richardson over a guard is one matter, but reaching for Miller instead of drafting Glenn--who Van Bibber believes could become "elite"--has all the looks of a bad pick for the future of the franchise.
Other notable picks in this mock draft: