The Bengals will select a safety in the first round of the upcoming draft, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy's latest mock draft. However, it isn't the safety that many of you are used to seeing next to the Bengals in mock drafts this year.
Reedy believes the Bengals will select Florida safety Matt Elam with the No. 21 overall pick.
The Bengals need help at strong safety and with the depth and talent at the safety position in this year's draft class, using their first-round pick on the position makes sense, especially if the Bengals can re-sign right tackle Andre Smith.
Most mock drafts have the Bengals using their No. 21 overall pick on Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, but Reedy has Vaccaro going to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the No. 17 overall pick.
Elam is still talented, though, and worthy of a first-round selection. According to NFL.com, Elam shows flashes of brilliance but can struggle at times when it comes to launching himself at ball carriers instead of making form tackles and he has been known to "stand around" at times.
Elam is one of the higher profile prospects at his position due to his onfield emotion and energy when lining up big hits in the open field. The junior thrives when his nunmber is called, and Elam was very visible since he frequently lined up in the box at strong safety. However, when looking beyond the splash plays, Elam lacks urgency to his game and can be seen standing around while others make the play. That combined with his tendency to launch himself at ball carriers rather than make form tackles may cause some evaluators to be a bit apprhensive. But, if the Gator can harness the electricity he flashes, Elam could end up being one of the top safeties in this class and is a potential first-round pick.
Here is Reedy's complete first round:
|#||Team||Name/Positon of Pick|
|1||Chiefs||Luke Joeckel, OT|
|2||Jaguars||Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU|
|3||Raiders||Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida|
|4||Eagles||Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon|
|5||Lions||Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan|
|6||Browns||Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama|
|7||Cardinals||Chance Warmack, G, Alabama|
|8||Bills||Geno Smith, QB, WVU|
|9||Jets||Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU|
|10||Titans||Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah|
|11||Chargers||Lane Johnson, LT, Oklahoma|
|12||Dolphins||Xavier Rhodes, CB, FSU|
|13||Buccaneers||Tavon Auston, WR, WVU|
|14||Panthers||Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri|
|15||Saints||Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia|
|16||Rams||Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee|
|17||Steelers||Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas|
|18||Cowboys||Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina|
|19||Giants||Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida St.|
|20||Bears||Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia|
|21||Cincinnati||Matt Elam, S, Florida|
|22||Rams (from Redskins)||Sylvester Wiliams, DT, North Carolina|
|23||Vikings||Keenan Allen, WR, California|
|24||Colts||Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington|
|25||Vikings (from Seahawks)||Datone Jones, DE, UCLA|
|26||Packers||Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State|
|27||Texans||DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson|
|28||Broncos||Kawann Short, DT, Purdue|
|29||Patriots||Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State|
|30||Falcons||Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame|
|31||49ers||Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama|
|32||Ravens||Robert Woods, WR, Southern Cal|