Any draft simulation that has Zack Martin going #2 overall and more OT than QBs in the first 10 picks must be flawed. In any case, this is how things went for the Bengals with FanSpeak's big board. To supplement this board however, I also used Josh Norris from Rotoworld's top 150 prospects. Norris values game tape over and above all else, so I respect his evaluations more than any other.
#24 Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Though Nix III was on the board, there are some D-line prospects that I rate highly and don't feature favourably on FanSpeak's board. As such, Dennard was the pick that injects some youth into the CB corps. Pacman is better on the inside, Newman is 36, and Hall's knees don't inspire confidence. Physical corner and always looking for the ball. Hopefully this selection will give Dre K a kick up the ass too.
#55 Joel Bitonio, OL, Nevada
Not enough has been made about Anthony Collins leaving. Granted, Whitworth is a top left tackle when fully fit, but some insurance here is provided by Bitonio, who has played 4 spots along the line. Finding a versatile lineman that upgrades the backup situation would be ideal, even if center is the true sore spot in the team. Norris views Bitonio as more of a guard, but our guard situation could use some talent too.
#88 Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State
I'm running to the podium with this pick. Lawrence could be a perfect replacement for Michael Johnson, although isn't as natural a run defender as the Johnson. Still, with the development of Margus Hunt crucial for the starting DE position in year 2, Lawrence gives Guenther a very able edge player who can spell Hunt on downs alongside Gilberry.
#123 Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton
Put in a difficult place here. A personal favorite in Brett Smith at QB will be gone by the Bengals next pick. Likely so will Pierre Desir, someone whose measurables make me dream of a physical backfield a la Seahawks. However, the pick here is Caraun Reid because he's the BPA on my chosen board. With the ability to play 1, 3 and 5 technique as Norris points out, our interior rotation will be stronger than ever with Reid suiting up alongside Peko, Atkins, Still and Thompson.
#164 Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
Doubling down on cornerbacks? When someone who's been discussed as a first round talent falls this far, you bet. Though my guru Norris does not feature Colvin in his top 150 prospects, he freely admits he had to leave a lot of players out due to the talent of this class. Colvin will probably have to be placed on PUP for the start of the season but the Bengals will have a promising outside corner duo in Dennard and Colvin come 2015. His ability to blanket receivers and his ability on an island will be gratefully accepted once he's fit. His experience at playing some safety won't go amiss either.
#199 Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
A strong armed developmental QB prospect would be ideal for the Bengals here. Though I'm high on David Fales, as is Jim Harbaugh too no less, he is gone to the Packers (what a pick for them by the way). Boyd offers big time game experience, decent stats against the blitz and very encouraging deep ball (16+ yards) and red zone accuracy. Drafted this late, Dalton won't feel he is in a QB competition either, but come 2015, the Bengals will not feel unduly pressed to extend Andy unless he has got over the playoff hump. I'm excited about Boyd's potential. Let's hope Zampese has some success developing him, if this plays out.
#212 Preston Brown, ILB, Louisville
A Brandon Spikes-esque run stuffer will do the LB depth situation no harm here. Brown is widely recognized as a decent 2 down player, and as an MLB, will provide an assured backup behind whoever ends up manning the starting spot. Hopefully he can develop his ability in coverage to be more than serviceable because I really believe him to have great potential as a smash-mouth 'backer in the AFC North.
#239 Aaron Lynch, DE/OLB, USF
Another edge player comes to the Queen City, and once more I'm employing BPA with Norris' board, where he is ranked #65. Versatility is key here, but Guenther will have to know what he views Lynch as. The comparison to Michael Johnson by Norris helped make this pick too, but Lynch is a prospect who could flower if used and motivated correctly.
#252 J. C. Copeland, FB, LSU
The Orson Charles experiment has failed. Moving to a more run-heavy scheme calls for a violent blocker, and presented to us at the bottom of the draft is remarkable value. Copeland has underrated hands too, and could really punish as a runner if used like Marcel Reece.
That caps my mock draft. I've got to say, I had great luck with how the simulation went and if I could nitpick on anything, it would be missing out on a bruiser type runner and a quality center. Carlos Hyde and Martin were gone by #55, otherwise it would've been tough selecting between them, but I think the Law-Firm is good for one more season and Centre has been viewed as an expendable position by the Bengals for a long time.
One of the top corners in Round 1, great depth picks at QB, LB and OL and a phenomenal D-line rotation that would have the Browns new QB, Big Ben, and Flacco worrying means a solid draft in my view. Seen others pick a few WR's too, but I really like our depth and talent at that position and there really wouldn't be room for another behind Green, Jones, Sanu, Sanzenbacher, Hamilton, Tate and Whalen. With the depth at the position, pretty sure a few priority UDFA's will be brought in to compete too.
Look forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions...