NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: NFL Draft Prospect Dre Kirkpatrick visits the NYSE Trading Floor at New York Stock Exchange on April 25, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
We can't possibly explain just how pumped we are right now, with the NFL draft kicking off tonight. It's exciting. The scouting reports, mock drafts, speculation, smoke screens all translate into an investment when the Indianapolis Colts kick things off by announcing Andrew Luck's name. Until then, some of the staff at Cincy Jungle offer up first-round predictions.
17) Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama. If one of the top three cornerbacks are available, the Bengals are pulling the trigger and most reports suggest that Kirkpatrick will be the third selected.
21) Courtney Upshaw, DE/LB, Alabama. Buying the smokescreen that the Bengals are interested in Upshaw, using him as a pass rushing defensive end opposite Carlos Dunlap.
17) Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College. Kuechly is an instant starter and an upgrade to the inconsistent Rey Maualuga. Even if this lights a fire under Rey, Kuechly can also play WLB where Thomas Howard is in the last year of his deal.
21) Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech. Hill is the most physically gifted WR in the draft but probably the least experienced. Fortunately for him in this offense, he'll only need to be a complementary piece until he can harness his vast potential.
17) Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama. Stephon Gilmore is going to go earlier than a lot of people suspect and with him off the board a good few picks before the Bengals go on the clock, I think they'll pull the trigger grabbing Kirkpatrick before he's not there anymore at No. 21.
21) Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor. I don't think this would be as good of a pick as Michael Floyd, but the team is in need of a No. 2 wide receiver and now that re-signing Jerome Simpson is off the table, they need to look to the draft. Wright could be a great No. 2 opposite of A.J. Green.
17) Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Defense times-two in the first round was the plan but the way things fall out, Floyd drops and the Bengals can't pass on yet another first-round pass-catcher.
21) Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina. Coples slides due to effort questions. Can Marvin and Zimmer motivate him? If not, this pick is a waste.
17) David DeCastro, G, Stanford. Decastro falls because of a run on cornerbacks. We have no choice but to take him at No. 17 because Dalton needs protection and the Law Firm needs a between-the-tackles-Freight-Train to ride into the endzone.
21) Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama. Then Janoris Jenkins is waiting for us at No. 21 and we take him. I think the "bad guy" image is hype and the coaches know his talent to too good to pass up a second time. Zimmer finally gets his Johnathan Joseph replacement at corner!
17) Courtney Upshaw, DE/LB, Alabama
21) Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech