24.) Cincinnati Bengals select Darqueze Dennard-CB/Michigan State (5’11’’, 200lbs)
Anyone that has read a mock draft in the past year recognizes that the Bengals need a corner; why not take the best CB in the draft? Dennard might not be the best athlete of the draft, but he shows tremendous anticipation, instincts, and work ethic that could make him an instant Pro-Bowler.
A great cover corner, Dennard plays with physicality and great technique that allows minimal separation from the opposing receivers.
55.) Cincinnati Bengals select Blake Bortles-QB/Central Florida (6’5’’, 232lbs)
I know, I thought it was a reach too; at least here me out (I wish that the fanposts had sarcasm font). Andy Dalton has been reported to be asking more than $15 million/year (with mentioning in a recent interview that he considered himself to be amongst the top 5 highest paid QBs in the league).
If Dalton honestly expects to be paid around $20 million/year, then the Bengals should be ready to move on and prepare for his replacement. Bortles is a proven leader, has tremendous upside, and a great arm that could make Bortles an elite QB for the Bengals for years to come (if he is not taken with the 1st pick overall, that is).
88.) Cincinnati Bengals select Kony Ealy-DE/Missouri (6’4’’, 273lbs)
Along with the Bortles pick in the 2nd, Ealy being available in the 3rd was the cement to why I had to come up with my own mock draft (will be available soon, labeled Bengals mock draft 4.2). Why should the Bengals be interested in Ealy? They lost proven veteran Michael Johnson in FA and 2013 2nd round pick Margus Hunt may not be ready to step into the starting role. Ealy represents a strong, versatile, and technically sound defensive end that could make an instant impact as the Bengals defensive end.
123.) Cincinnati Bengals select Ja’Wuan James-OT/Tennessee (6’6’’, 311lbs)
With the Bengals losing Collins in FA, the Bengals might want a developmental OT as insurance to a potential Whitworth regression or Andre leaving once his contract expires. James has great feet and frame to benefit both in the running game and passing game.
James is also one of the weird cases of the draft, in that there are not many weaknesses in his game. He may have conditioning issues that contributes to some technical flaws (found later in games), but this can be easily prevented by any decent coach at the NFL level.
164.) Cincinnati Bengals select Andre Williams-RB/Boston College (5’11’’, 230lbs)
Power back with great production in college; could emerge as an immediate replacement for the Law Firm. Represents a perfect complement to Giovani Bernard next season; although he needs to improve his speed and receiving ability to make any impact in the NFL.
199.) Cincinnati Bengals select Dri Archer-WR/Kent State (5’8’’, 173lbs)
Extremely quick with great elusiveness, Archer could make an impact as a Baby Hawk type with actual kick/punt return abilities (and allow the Bengals to cut Tate).
212.) Cincinnati Bengals select Bryan Stork-C/Florida State (6’4’’, 315lbs)
Bengals need a center after releasing Cook (actually, they have needed a center even when Cook was the center). Stork, rated as my number two center in this draft class, exhibits great recognition skills, leadership, intelligence, strength, and motor that is required to become one of the next great NFL centers.
239.) Cincinnati Bengals select J.C. Copeland-FB/Louisiana State (5’11’’, 271lbs)
Orson Charles will likely not make the roster next season after a disappointing campaign as the team’s FB. Insert a real FB that projects to be an intimidating force for anyone who crosses his path. Copeland may need to refine his technique, but he is an absolute mauler that will benefit the running game.
252.) Cincinnati Bengals select Victor Hampton-CB/South Carolina (5’9’’, 197lbs)
A potential risk because of apparent problems stemming from high school and lack of athleticism, Hampton could also represent one of the more underrated prospects in this draft. Hampton is a physical player with a great motor and instincts that could make him an immediate impact player.