I don’t consider this a mock draft as it is not necessarily what I think our FO will do, rather what I would do with the picks.
My strategy would include targeting specific positions in specific rounds in order to juggle the needs we have and maximise the value we are able to get.
As I see it, there are two main goals of this draft that the Bengals should try to achieve. Firstly, to fill a couple of obvious holes on defence (i.e. OLB and S). Secondly, to provide Andy with some more toys. With a bit of luck will achieve both of these.
1. Alec Ogletree LB
This pick maybe Vaccaro, although I think LB is the right play here. I happen to think LB is the biggest need on our entire team considering poor play last year and FA losses and taking one in the first round provides us with the most value. Ogletree is a freak and after the GMs see what he can do in his underwear next week he may go a lot higher than this, so it may have to be Arthur Brown, but I think either is value here as a lb that can start next year at OLB, play all three downs and play all three positions.
2a. DeAndre Hopins WR
2013 is a year that is deep in reliable receivers. I watched a lot of Clemson last season and for me, Nuke is the best receiver in the draft. If he is available at this spot then we should jump all over him. Even though I happen to like the state of our current receiving corps, an explosive and reliable target like Hopkins could take them and Andy to the next level. If Hopkins is not available at this spot there should be plenty of other reliable albeit less explosive receiver here (Patton, Williams, Woods etc.). This pick gets us closer to the explosive Atlanta offence that gave me pangs of jealousy during the playoffs.
2b. Johnathan Cyprien S
I don’t think that safety is as big of a need as some of you on here but if we can get a player like Cyprian or Elam here (or even Swearinger), who can start right away, then we certainly should. If there isn’t a sufficiently good S available here then I would not be averse to picking a CB in this spot.
3. Marcus Lattimore RB
4. Johnathan Franklin RB
Whatever we do in the first two rounds, I think rounds thee and four are ideal for us to double-dip at the running back position. To me, running back is the second biggest need on this team. However, the first two rounds simply do not provide enough value to take one that high. I know Lattimore is coming off a bad injury but he is still the only back I would consider taking in the first two rounds, he is the only complete back in this class and if he can recover to full health can be one of the best backs in the league and a perfect AFC North back.
The Franklin pick is somewhat of an insurance pick but also a player who can provide us tremendous value at a position of need. He is one of my favourite players in the draft and providing he has overcome his fumbling problem he can come in straight away and be a difference maker and the long-run threat that we don’t currently have.
Both players have their faults, and at worst, they both are busts and we are out our 3rd and 4th round picks but at best, we have an high calibre all-round back and a Doug Martin-like complement who can be our home run threat. Other RB I like that we could look at if either of these two aren’t available are Andre Ellington and Christine Michael.
5. Kevin Riddick LB
The Bengals currently have 0 ILB on the roster and it isn’t looking like we are going to resign the two outgoing free agents. We all assume that Vonteze will kick inside and whilst Ogletree can cover this spot, which is not something we should be relying on. A solid ILB that can back up would be ideal with this pick. Nico Johnson, Michael Mauti or John Bostic are also possibilities.
6a. Khaled Holmes C
Trevor Robinson showed enough last year to be considered an average starter and a fantastic find as an undrafted free agent. With a full year with our OL coaches under his belt the hope is he follows Clint Bolings lead and ups his game this year.
6b. Matt Scott QB
Scott’s a nice developmental prospect and played well in his one year staring. He could challenge Bruce for the backup role.