Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama) reacts after being introduced as the number seventeen overall pick to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
The Bengals made a somewhat surprising trade on the first night of the draft, one that moved them six spots back in the first round and gave them another third round pick from the Patriots. That No.27 pick was used on Wisconsin guard, Kevin Zeitler, thus checking one more position off of the "perceived needs list". With that extra third round pick, the Bengals now have seven picks in rounds two through five, and once again could be armed to make a move.
While the team is notorious for either sitting on their hands when it comes to draft day moves and/or trading back and not up, this could be a change that we see on Friday.
First, based on the trades that we saw in the first round, it doesn't take much to move around and get the player that you (as a team) covet. Thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams aren't afraid to make greater risks, especially in the first-round. It's really now only costing teams their draft picks and not the exorbitant amount of salary cap space that it once required. Thanks to the rookie wage scale that was implemented in the new CBA, teams are more willing to move around in draft weekend.
Secondly, the Bengals still need a wide receiver to pair opposite A.J. Green. The University of Cincinnati Bearcat faithful (and apparently some in the Bengals coaching staff) likely support the idea that Armon Binns is ready, but unless you're monitoring workouts or took part during practices last year, that idea remains an unknown. Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright and A.J. Jenkins are all of off the board. All four of these players were talked about as solid possibilities to come in to Cincinnati and compete with Binns for that No. 2 job, if not winning it outright. The second round could display heavy interest from teams for players at that position with prospects like Stephen Hill, Mohammed Sanu, Marvin Jones and even Juron Criner still available. Teams will be willing to wheel and deal to get these players and the Bengals had best be ready to be one of them.
One could argue that the Bengals also need a running back to add to their committee. The first round of this year's draft yielded three running backs in the first round: Trent Richardson, Doug Martin and David Wilson. The best of the rest include names like Lamar Miller, Chris Polk, Isaiah Pead, LaMichael James, Bernard Pierce and Robert Turbin. Most pegged Martin, Miller, or Wilson to the Bengals in the second round in many mock drafts. If Miller is the target now that Martin and Wilson are gone, the Bengals may need to make an attractive package to move up from No. 53 and grab him. There is likely to be a run on backs over the second and third rounds, so if the team sees that, they will need to be prepared to make a move up if they see the position as a need. However, there are enough good prospects remaining, which could allow Cincinnati to sit back and let the prospects to come to them.
Pass-rushers are always a must. Many fans and draftniks were surprised that we didn't see Alabama outside linebacker/defensive end, Courtney Upshaw, land with the Bengals in the first round. As it stands, Upshaw is still available in the second and will likely be taken in the first portion of that round. If the Bengals value him as much as the media has made it sound, they'll need to be proactive and make a move up to grab him. He won't be there when they pick at No. 21 in the round. There's also a player like Devon Still from Penn State who plays the ever-valued defensive tackle position and he might go early on in the second. He's been linked to the Bengals as well and an attractive package will need to be put together to be in position to take him early on Friday.
If the Bengals have changed their stripes (yes, a pun), as many have suggested that they have, Friday will prove it. They have a plethora of picks that they can use to move up and get true impact players at positions of need. They have already made one move so far and they have the means to move up for specific targets if they so choose.