Despite not taking a safety in the first round, the Cincinnati Bengals clearly have an opportunity to upgrade a position that they've failed to recognize during NFL draft since Madieu Williams was snagged in the second round of the 2004 NFL draft. Jonathan Cyprien, whose stock significantly improved during the predraft process (aka, his 40-time), leads a class of safeties that remains deep. If Cincinnati is successful in drafting Cyprien at No. 37, then questions about the Bengals drafting practices should take a rest. Enjoy the ride, they've earned your trust (if they haven't already). Not only would they get their safety, they also grabbed one of the best offensive skill players on the board, selecting Tyler Eifert during Thursday's first round.
Even if Cyprien is selected before Cincinnati's spot at No. 37 during Friday's second round, the draft will continue with plenty availability; though not necessarily a triggered response at No. 37. One possibility is South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger.
"He was my No. 3 safety coming into draft," Joe Goodberry tells me, calling it a good value pick at No. 53. "He is a perfect strong safety from a schematic stand point. Good vs. the run and can cover the slot. Has surprising range and ball skills for an average athlete. Problem is the fit with Nelson. Flags and blown coverages if they're paired. He's an intimidator and will go for the kill shot if presented."
And let's not forget the Georgia connection with safety Bacarri Rambo.
"Just right at 53," said Goodberry. "He's No. 48 on my board. He may fall a little bit due to character concerns. He had some issues early at Georgia. As for fit with Bengals, he's a deep free safety and the best one in the draft. Rare range and ball skills. He's poor vs the run, but has really progressed over the last year in that phase. I compared him to Bills Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd."
According to Albert Breer with the NFL Network, Cyprien could be in play for Jacksonville's selection at No. 33.
Jax picks first today, and expect the Jags to field offers for that pick. If it's not a deal down, or a QB, Cyprien could be in play too.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 26, 2013
A nagging thought: Cyprien wouldn't be the first player that we've identified as someone that would fit Cincinnati's need. How many times did someone similar (in the visions of a fan's demand) get drafted ahead of Cincinnati or that the Bengals took entirely different direction? Arthur Brown anyone?
Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin, and Giovani Bernard are three possibilities... actually every running back eligible for the 2013 NFL draft remains. And just like the obvious need at safety, the Bengals aren't forced into settling. Is Cincinnati looking for the power of Eddie Lacy, the balance, speed and acceleration of Giovani Bernard or the agility and speed of Johnathan Franklin?
They have enough options at No. 37 that doesn't automatically demand the need to address running back either. It's a freebie, a parting gift from Carson Palmer who has already left the Raiders. Yet we're still expecting Cincinnati to draft a running back at some point. If Giovani Bernard is available at No. 53, book it. However Eddie Lacy could be the team's No. 37 selection. We're not sure about it, but it wouldn't surprise us one bit.
Safety. Running back. There's the application of best player available, and perhaps that player isn't a safety or running back. By not addressing a position with a player that you believe the Bengals should select, doesn't promote a fiction that they're unable get a great player with great value. Perhaps a linebacker like Arthur Brown, or defensive end Tank Carradine. Why not one more offensive weapon in wide receiver Keenan Allen.
Options. Options. Options.
The second round of the NFL draft starts at 6:30 p.m. (ET). Each second round selection is seven minutes and every pick during the third round (until the end) is five minutes. The Bengals select No. 37, No. 53 and No. 84.