Will the Bengals go with another cornerback?
In one of our earlier mock draft postings, I made the reference that, after Cincinnati selected Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard on Thursday, every position opens up for the Bengals. Except for cornerback. Some disagreed. Since a majority of our readers aren't actually participants in the comments, we wanted to expand on this.
Here's my theory.
At this stage, the Bengals cornerback roster is comprised of Leon Hall, Terence Newman, Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick and Dennard. There's the soon-to-be special teams specialist Onterio McCalebb vying for a roster spot, tying him down as the team's sixth corner. If Cincinnati takes ten defensive backs, you now have to include those six with Reggie Nelson, George Iloka, Shawn Williams, Danieal Manning and Taylor Mays.
They've kept ten defensive backs on their 53-man roster in each of the past six years, except for '10 when they kept nine. Let's toss McCalebb back on the practice squad. There's ten.
It's possible that Cincinnati could go with a cornerback in the later rounds -- but definitely not in the second or third rounds respectively (which was the above mentioned point).
But isn't Taylor Mays a linebacker hybrid?
Alright. Let's take him off our projected cornerback roster and toss McCalebb back on the 53-man roster -- unless you just don't like him or view his chances as being entirely unrealistic.
If we put Mays at linebacker, we're grouping him into a roster that will include Vontaze Burfict, Emmanuel Lamur, Rey Maualuga, and Vincent Rey. Now consider that Mays will fight for, at most, 2-3 vacancies in a competition that will include Jayson DiManche, Dontay Moch, Sam Montgomery, Sean Porter (last year's fourth-rounder), and J.K. Schaffer. And that's not predicated on any progress from Bruce Taylor or Brandon Joiner.
I thought some of those linebackers would be transitioning to defense end.
That's my theory at least. Cincinnati has four likely candidates at defensive end that makes the 53-man roster this September; Carlos Dunlap, Robert Geathers, Wallace Gilberry and Margus Hunt. I see DiManche giving it a shot at defensive end -- at the very least to expand his versatility. Considering that he's a good special teams player, he'll stick around. Also figure there will be a fifth defensive end (not including DiManche) that will be selected sooner rather than later in the 2014 NFL draft.
Back to the original question; will the Bengals draft another cornerback?
If they do, it's a sixth or seventh rounder that will compete for the sixth spot on the 53-man roster.
Why not best player available?
This will usually apply to every round until the end of the draft, as long as you're adding the qualifying part... best player available at a position of need. Plus if we just say BPA, it makes for boring commentary that concludes into a debate between everyone on who the actual BPA is.
If Cincinnati selects a cornerback in the second or third round Friday night, now you have to consider that Terence Newman, entering the final year of his current contract, is done. Maybe he is. Coming off an injury (though he was confident that he could have played after last year's wild card loss), Newman turns 36 years old. Plus his release would led to a cap savings of $2 million.
We don't see it either.
Coaches love his leadership who can be instrumental for guys like Kirkpatrick and Dennard. On the other hand, he was a Mike Zimmer guy and with his former defensive coordinator in Minnesota, would that unexpectedly lead to a decline? We're just spit-balling at this point.
Back to the point: Space will be extremely valuable in the team's secondary; you don't draft a second-rounder just to sit around at the bottom of their respective roster.
But they did that with Margus Hunt, didn't they?
The big storyline is whether or not the Cincinnati Bengals will draft a quarterback on Friday. Do they?
There are two theories out there right now.
If the Bengals are confident that an extension with Andy Dalton can be reached before training camp, they won't draft a quarterback on Friday. Sure. There is a reasonable point that's made in using a selection in the top three rounds to develop a high-end backup. I just don't see Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis using any of those picks on a backup quarterback. We could debate that point all day -- the Bengals will just do whatever the hell they want... fans be damned.
That leads to the second theory. If Cincinnati does select a quarterback on Friday, then they're 1) not confident an extension will be reached with Dalton and/or 2) not all that confident in Dalton.
However, remember... the Bengals clearly want to avoid a quarterback controversy that will put pressure on Dalton. Would they risk that with a second or third rounder?
Oh, the drama.
What do you think the Bengals will do on Friday?
We could make arguments for every position. We've already approached quarterback and cornerback. Let's go through a couple of other spots:
Offensive lineman. Cincinnati could go after a second-round offensive tackle; someone talented enough to replace Anthony Collins while leaving Andrew Whitworth at left guard -- Clint Boling's ACL recovery will be close but there's no firm expectation when he'll be ready. Therefore a cause for contingency is appropriate, if not future development. Offensive tackles Morgan Moses (Virginia) and Joel Bitonio (Virginia) figure to be gone by the time Cincinnati picks at No. 55. Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandijo is interesting -- we're just not sure how confident Marvin Lewis is with Alabama offensive tackles right now (Andre Smith took a long time to come around).
I think USC center Marcus Martin is a possibility; especially since the Bengals released starting center Kyle Cook earlier this year. The world seems to love Trevor Robinson at center, except for the coaching staff who decided to play a partially injured Cook late in '12. If not Martin, then Colorado State Weston Richburg -- who can also play guard.
Running back. Yes. I would like to see Carlos Hyde too. Clearly, if the Bengals go with this route it's bye-bye BenJarvus Green-Ellis -- not that fans would lose any sleep.
Defensive line. There are several quality defensive ends available that could be tasked with replacing Michael Johnson -- a former third-rounder who departed for Tampa Bay earlier this year. Guys like Kony Ealy, Stephon Tuitt, Demarcus Lawrence are possible.
Without going through the entire list of prospects, everyone is possible.