This is a mock draft that takes into consideration the recent release of Kyle Cook and probable signing of Michael Johnson and Anthony Collins by the Bucs; while also projecting the pick number that the Bengals will acquire for their losses in 2013.
41.) Cincinnati Bengals select Cyrus Kouandjio-OT/Alabama (6'6'', 322lbs)
What has happened to Kouandjio over the last few weeks following the combine is why I hate the over speculation and importance that is placed on one event; however, I could learn to like the combine if this pick came to truth. With the declining chance of AC returning to Cincy, the Bengals have to plan for the eventual gap that will be created by Whitworth. Kouandjio is still an elite-level prospect that deserves to go in the mid-1st round. A better run than pass blocker (although either I would consider below average), Kouandjio would start the perfect transition to a run-heavy offense that Hue will likely move towards. Contrary to his combine performance, he actually has very quick feet and great speed for a player of his size. Most of his flaws are technique, especially with hand placement.
55.) Cincinnati Bengals select Carlos Hyde-RB/Ohio State (6'0'', 230lbs)
Great compliment to Gio and allows the Bengals to free up money invested in the Law Firm. No glaring weaknesses that Gio wont be able to cover. I feel that I might need to justify Hyde falling to the end of the 2nd round (in the comment section) than actually justifying the pick.
73.) Cincinnati Bengals select Loucheiz Purifoy-CB/Florida (6'0'', 190lbs)
It is no secret that the Bengals need a CB to help an aging, injury-proned core that may or may not be 100% for the start of the 2014 season (it is also no secret that this is one of my favorite prospects). Purifoy is possibly the most athletic prospect in this entire draft (if you watch the film and do not follow the combine religiously). If Purifoy further develops his technique, he could become an pro-bowl level, shut down corner. His major flaw is being non-existent against the run. Another flaw is his read of the QB, which led to several blown coverages throughout his entire college career (see 2013 FSU matchup).
88.) Cincinnati Bengals select Victor Hampton-CB/South Carolina (5'9'', 197lbs)
Double-dipping at CB? If your the Bengals with no true depth or immediate need, why not? Hampton represents almost the complete opposite of the prior pick (Purifoy). Physical corner that excels against the run, shows great anticipation, and fluid movements in the secondary. A negative in his game is the slight lack of athleticism or size that would make him the target of larger, more athletic WRs. Another question is how he will perform in a man coverage scheme in comparison to the zone coverage that he excelled at in South Carolina.
Cincinnati Bengals select Michael Sam-DE/Missouri (6'2'', 260lbs)
A controversial pick to say the least. Sam would be a great fit for the Bengals because he would not project well as a tweener (with myself wondering why they ever had him doing LB drills), would have an immediate impact at DE, and would not need development as a project (in other words, providing contrast to Hunt as an insurance plan). A proven leader with the production (and title of SEC Defensive Player of the Year) to match. He is a successful pass rusher that utilizes a combination of great acceleration, upper body strength, and explosiveness to bypass blockers and disrupt plays in the backfield. Questions surrounding his play are mostly his ineffectiveness against the run and not having the typical size of an NFL DE. Other questions surrounding Sam will be the media circus/backlash surrounding any team that takes him and questions about that individual team's locker room atmosphere. The latter questions are why I think Sam would be a perfect fit for Cincinnati. Strong leadership amongst coaches and players would not allow incidences to occur like those in Miami. Questions surrounding the media would also be solved by the Bengals because the media would first have to acknowledge that the Bengals are, in fact, an NFL franchise.
158.) Cincinnati Bengals select Tajh Boyd-QB/Clemson (6'1'', 222lbs)
The difference that a year makes; last year projected top 5 pick now appearing in the 5th round or later in most mock projections. A proven leader with great mobility, great arm, college production, and raw potential that could push Andy Dalton next season as a backup. Of all the later round prospects at QB, Boyd represents the highest probability of being successful at the next level. The reason for the large drop in his draft stock has been largely due to height concerns, accuracy problems, and his inability to scan the field for secondary receivers.
197.) Cincinnati Bengals select Jonathan Brown-OLB/Illinois (6'0'', 238lbs)
Another depth LB and potential to be a great ST player. Great production, endless motor, and an asset in both coverage and against the run will make him valuable as a potential replacement for V.Rey. The downside to Brown is the concerns about his size, athleticism, and durability.
211.) Cincinnati Bengals select Gabe Ikard-C/Oklahoma (6'3'', 304lbs)
(compensation for Manny Lawson)
I must admit that the Kyle Cook release did surprise me, however, it does not change my view on where the Bengals will draft a center. They will likely give either Robinson or Pollak a year and select someone in the later rounds to back them up. Ikard would be the best center available in the later rounds and could become a starter in 2015. The major complaint about his play is his lack of power and the potential problems against bull rushers (although he did not give up a sack in 2013). Ikard makes up for the lack of power with a combination of intelligence and athleticism that makes could make him the most productive center from this draft class.
237.) Cincinnati Bengals select Danny Kistler Jr.-OT/Montana (6'7'', 315lbs)
My prediction for the late round Alexander project pick. An FCS All-American, he will start out as a raw project with great upside. Showing great versatility and promise as a run blocker, his large frame, late round projection, and small school status will likely (at the minimum) intrigue the Bengals. If developed correctly, could develop into Collins proper replacement as backup OT.
248.) Cincinnati Bengals select Tevin Reese-WR/Baylor (5'10'', 165lbs)
(compensation for Pat Sims)
It appears that Hawkins is unlikely to return to the Bengals this season. With that being said, Reese is essentially a taller Hawkins with worse hands. Like Hawkins, Reese has limited ST experience and will be more susceptible to injuries than the average NFL player. Needs to improve on route running, but when on the field, will make a significant contribution.
253.) Cincinnati Bengals select Garrison Smith-DT/Georgia (6'3'', 299lbs)
(compensation for Bruce Gradkowski)
A mock cannot be considered a success without the Bengals taking a Bulldog. A versatile D-lineman at Georgia, Smith projects better at DT because of his lack of edge speed and athleticism to project as a hybrid D-lineman. Smith strength lies in his power and bull-rush, which led to six sacks in his senior season.