Feb 25, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Stanford Cardinal offensive lineman David DeCastro runs the 40 yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
With just a little more than three weeks to go until the NFL draft arrives, more speculation will begin to swirl about what players teams will pick. At this point all of the draft talk is becoming a bunch of old fodder, but right now there isn't a whole lot to talk about or report at this point.
In most mock drafts the Bengals select either an offensive lineman or a cornerback, both which are positions that have yet to really be addressed during free agency. Paul Dehner Jr. of CBSsports.com released his five most likely first-round picks for every team. And his choices for the Bengals haven't strayed away from the norm.
The most likely selection for the Bengals in the first round is Stanford guard David DeCastro.
"If Stanford OG David DeCastro is still around when the Bengals pick No. 17 he'd be difficult to pass on. A gaping hole exists at RG with the likely departure of veteran OL Bobbie Williams. DeCastro could arrive ready to not just start, but to play well in the NFL. At 6-5, 316 pounds, he physically fits and rates as the consensus top guard in the draft."
In many mock drafts DeCastro has been a popular pick for the Bengals. And he's been a popular name for fans to fantasize about as well. He has the size, skill, and athleticism to step in at guard and be a contributor right away.
DeCastro had an excellent combine showing after the conclusion of his Stanford career. He excels as a run blocker in the zone and on the move. As a pass blocker he doesn't get beat, but he can struggle at times. DeCastro has been regarded as a better run blocker than pass blocker.
Since the Bengals have failed to add any offensive linemen this offseason, leading to more speculation that they will attempt to add a lineman during the draft. And DeCastro fits the bill perfectly as he is a all-around solid guard.
The second most likely player the Bengals will draft in the first round of the draft is cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama.
"Marvin Lewis loves first-round corners. All four current cornerbacks on the team were taken in the first round as was the biggest free agent loss of last season, CB Johnathan Joseph. Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick rates by many as the second-best CB in the draft behind LSU's Morris Claiborne. His pedigree as a physical corner specifically gifted at stopping the run fits the AFC North model."
Kirkpatrick would be an ideal selection for Cincinnati considering the lack of power at cornerback. Even though the Bengals have brought in Jason Allen, he isn't considered a long-term solution. After the 2012 season the contracts of Nate Clements and Adam Jones will both expire leaving the Bengals short-handed in the secondary.
Kirkpatrick fits the type of player that the Bengals have shown interest in the past. He's a strong, physical corner that has the ability to lock down receivers on the outside. He put up impressive numbers during his career at Alabama and he could be a potential long-term solution for the Bengals.
The third most likely player the Bengals will draft in the first round is offensive lineman Cordy Glenn of Georgia.
"If Standord OL David DeCastro comes off the board before the Bengals pick at No. 17, the chances increase greatly they select Georgia's Cordy Glenn at No. 21. They must come out of this draft with a guard and Glenn is as big as they come. A team looking for more explosion in their running game could do much worse than 6-foot-4, 345 pounds of it."
Glenn would be a good alternative if the Bengals are unable to draft DeCastro. For a guy his size, Glenn surprisingly moves very swiftly and is extremely agile. He's an above-average run-blocker and has his moments of excellence as a pass-blocker. He does have his lapses as a blocker, but he would be a respectable addition to a depleted Bengals front line.
The fourth most likely player the Bengals will draft in the first round is cornerback Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina.
"A South Carolina CB known for maturity, quiet leadership and nearly every desirable physical skill -- sound familiar? It should for Bengals fans who hope Gamecocks CB Stephon Gilmore can be a replica of CB Johnathan Joseph, selected No. 24 overall out of South Carolina in 2006. If Gilmore sits there at No. 21 and Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick falls off the board, he'll likely be the guy."
Gilmore is ranked as the third best corner coming into the draft behind Claiborne and Kirkpatrick. Gilmore has proven to be durable as he has started all 40 games for the Gamecocks over the past three seasons. At the combine he impressed scouts with his speed by posting a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash and finishing with the second best time for defensive backs on the 20-yard shuttle at 3.94.
He possess a toughness and aggressiveness that makes him an attractive commodity for the Bengals. He could prove to be the player that the Bengals have been searching for to replace the departed Joseph.
And the final most likely player the Bengals will draft in the first round is wide receiver Michael Floyd of Notre Dame.
"The Bengals lack of movement for a No. 2 wide receiver in free agency suggests they have plans on filling the need through the draft. That could open the door for taking Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd if he's available at No. 21. Pairing the physical receiver who makes tough catches in traffic with the home-run ability of WR A.J. Green could create a vicious 1-2 combo."
Three weeks ago I would have disagreed with the notion that the Bengals would even consider drafting a receiver in the first round. But now that the first wave of free agency has descended without the Bengals adding a No. 2 wideout to play opposite of Green, the chances of Cincinnati drafting a receiver increases.
Last season Floyd had 100 receptions for 1,147 yards and nine touchdowns with the Fighting Irish. During his career at South Bend he has proven that he has strong hands and a great ability to go up and get the ball. Consistency in his route running, blocking, and his release from the line have been the biggest areas of concern for Floyd.
Any of these players would represent an upgrade for the Bengals. Gilmore or Kirkpatrick would provide the Bengals secondary with more explosiveness that it lacked last season. DeCastro or Glenn would be a huge boost for the offensive line that's lacking depth and energy. And Floyd, who could be a surprise pick for the Bengals, would provide the Bengals with one of the best passing games in the league.
Chances are at least one of these players, if not two, will end up in Cincinnati for 2012 and beyond. Any of these players would also help the Bengals fill more of their voids. But only time will tell what the Bengals will actually do.