As I was watching ESPN a week or so ago, I happened to catch Mel Kiper's and Todd McShay's new mock draft crawl across the bottom line. What I found interesting is that the contrast each of them has, especially when it comes to the Bengals. Kiper, the soothsayer of draftnix's, has the Bengals picking Arrelious Benn, Wide Receiver from Illinois in the first round. However, McShay, antagonist supreme, has the Bengals picking Taylor Mays, Safety from USC.
What I call into question is Kiper's thinking that the Bengals would pick a wide receiver in the first round after signing Antonio Bryant to help with the position. Not only that, Benn's production last season does not favor him as being a first round draft pick after finishing with 38 catches for 490 yards and two touchdowns. The argument that he is worthy of such a spot is that he has a lot of upside. Does he? The only upside Benn may have is that he is a speed demon running 4.36 and 4.39 40 yard dash times at Illinois' Pro Day on 17 March. During the NFL Combine, Benn had trouble running routes and staying on his feet. Yes, he may have had the jitters due to the enormity of the situation, but if he can't handle the pressure of a simple workout, then how could one expect him to handle the pressure of a top NFL receiver?
The Safety position last season became thin with injuries to Roy Williams and Chris Crocker. It showed a lack of depth as the run defense suffered due to both players' injuries, who are known for defending against the run. There are durability concerns. Williams suffered his third broken forearm in the past four seasons with two coming in the same season. Last season's break landed him on Injured Reserve forcing him to miss the second half of the season, including the team's loss in the Wild Card game. Crocker injured his calf and ankle, which could create enough concern that he might not be as durable as originally thought. Crocker's ankle injury caused him to miss the final three games of the season before returning against the Jets for the Wild Card game.
I believe Todd McShay may have done something that Kiper seems to have forgotten. Research. McShay's thinking that the Bengals should draft Mays with their first pick would provide depth at safety. One of the bigger safeties in the draft at 230 pounds, Taylor Mays was the fastest defensive back at this year's combine timed at 4.47 seconds in the 40. His size could lend him to be a big hitter with the speed to cover deep. At 6 foot 3 inches, his size is more of a linebacker then a defensive back.
I know I should not take literal what a draft nix such as Kiper says with his only claim to fame being his big hair and hyperbolic chatter. McShay could also be put in the discussion, but it seems to me that he is able to recognize what a team needs and who best fits that need. Kiper, I believe, has gotten some bad advice from a researcher (his hairness can't be bothered with real work) and thinks sticking a low end player in that spot where the team could use other help, would be the team's best course of action. I am grateful that those in charge in the Bengals warroom will have enough sense to steer away from such lunacy and do what is best for the team, and that would be taking Taylor Mays.