ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has released his mock draft 2.0, and in it, he likely makes Bengals fans extremely happy. He believes that the Bengals will use their No. 21 overall pick on a position they badly need to upgrade, safety, by selecting Texas defensive back Kenny Vaccaro.
Analysis: This is just a big need spot for the Bengals. Reggie Nelson rated out pretty well for them, but the drop-off is significant from there. What you get in Vaccaro is a player who upgrades at either free or strong safety. Given Nelson's presence, Vaccaro should step in and be the Week 1 starter at strong safety. The Bengals need help at linebacker, and Vaccaro can actually offer that kind of presence, because he's a physical defender who can play in the box and defend the run effectively, or drop into coverage. He's a solid value here and fills a need.
For more mock drafts, visit Joe Goodberry's post Senior Bowl mock
If the Bengals are able to grab Vaccaro in the first round, he could shore up the Bengals' secondary and help defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer use his front seven in different ways. The Bengals haven't had a good duo of safeties in a fairly long time and having Vaccaro next to Nelson could give the Bengals one of the better secondaries in the league, especially if they're able to re-sign guys like Adam Jones and Terence Newman and if second-year player Dre Kirkpatrick is able to get on the field.
If the Bengals can re-sign linebacker Thomas Howard for the WILL position and move Vontaze Burfict to MIKE, they likely wouldn't be forced to draft a linebacker in the first round, which is what they've been predicted to do in most mock drafts. Even if there is a need at linebacker when the Bengals go on the clock in the first round, if Vaccaro is available, I'd rather they select him.
What do you think about Kiper's second mock draft?