ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 02: Stephon Gilmore #5 of the South Carolina Gamecocks returns a blocked extra point for a touchdown during the Capitol One Bowl against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Florida Citrus Bowl on January 2, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mock drafts. Are we loving them or what? In Mel Kiper's first mock draft earlier this year, he had Cincinnati selecting Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and Miami running back Lamar Miller. Kiper followed that up with cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and Stanford guard David DeCastro in his second mock. It was much of the same in 3.0 mock, replacing DeCastro with Georgia offensive guard Cordy Glenn.
Kiper released his fourth mock draft on Wednesday and not much has changed -- except now there's a second round.
For the third time he's addressing cornerbacks and offensive guard. Like his 2.0 mock draft, he has the Bengals selecting offensive guard David DeCastro.
We've seen interior lineman come off the board in similar spots over the last two years to great results, and DeCastro would be no exception. An immediate help to the run game, he's strong but agile and will help shore up a Bengals rushing attack that has to do more to create positive down and distance situations.
Instead of Kirkpatrick, like his previous versions, he has Cincinnati selecting South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
The Bengals need to add depth at corner, and Gilmore is a natural fit. A starter since the day he stepped on campus at South Carolina, Gilmore is a smart, mature player who has good instincts, can be effective in press and will pick up concepts quickly. Tested well across the board, with no glaring weaknesses in his game.
As for the second round, Kiper has Cincinnati selecting LSU safety Brandon Taylor.
I have safety as a top need, and Taylor wasn't a huge drop-off from Mark Barron if you ask SEC coaches.