The twenty-first pick in the inaugural edition of the Cincy Jungle Mock Draft is made by FriarBob, selecting for the Cincinnati Bengals. My explanation for the pick is after the jump.
With the twenty-first pick in the 2010 Cincy Jungle Mock Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select...
Well here it is, the pick we all have been waiting for. And one that, when it is made for real, you know we'll be talking about for weeks afterward.
When evaluating what player to pick, I looked in three areas for a pick. I considered the OL, the DL, and the defensive secondary. Our LB corp may not be perfect, but it does not need yet another first-round pick at this point in time. The TE position is a concern, but with BratWorst as such an offensive coordinator I wasn't picking a TE unless there was a can't-miss guy available who already could block and catch and is healthy. Gresham fails on at least one, maybe even two, out of the three. No we can get a blocking TE in later rounds if we don't resign Reggie Kelly.
I also ignored the WR corp as well. Although I'm not a huge fan of Antonio Bryant yet, Chad Ochocinco is still talented, even if he is certifiable as well, Andre Caldwell had at least some moments of greatness last year, Matt Jones might yet surprise us after all, and I truly haven't yet given up on Jerome Simpson either, though I don't really expect him to last either. He's just another option that might help out, and if he does at this point it's basically an unexpected bonus.
So then I considered the OL. Despite resigning Bobbie Williams, I do not feel either the LG or the RG position is that stable, especially in a long-term sense. But unless there is a can't-miss prospect on the board, a guard rarely goes in the first round. Reaching for Jon Asamoah at this point would be unnecessary, as even if he isn't around at 53 he'll likely be around near that point and we might move up slightly to get him. If not, somebody else will be around later as well. And though Markice Pouncey could play guard and probably do it well, he's a very good center and I'd only draft him to trade him to a team that needs a center. I also even considered drafting and moving him in to guard. The Bengals well could do that, and I'd support the move if they did it. I'm not sold on him as an elite tackle, but I expect he could be a great guard... assuming, of course, that he gets fired up to prove all the other teams that passed on him wrong.
I briefly considered the DL, but there has been enough of a run on the top prospects here and I wasn't sold on any of the remaining targets.
So that left me with the secondary. While there is no guarantee we will retain both Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall in the long-term, at the moment I do not feel a first round pick there is merited. If we played the Saints or Colts or Patriots twice a year it might be different, but we don't spend 3/4s of our games in nickel. And we have plenty of at least decent strong safeties.
I also considered Morgan Burnett as well. Some have him rated as a second-round pick, but some actually have him rated as the second-best FS in the draft, above both Earl Thomas AND Taylor Mays. Not sure if I agree, and somebody who has a tendency to lower his head into the tackle both turns me off because it reminds me too much of the Steelers' dirty play and scares me off reminding me of how David Pollack ended his career.
Which brings me finally to Taylor Mays. I know there have been a lot of knocks on him for his poor performance last year, but that doesn't scare me off. We need a playmaker back there who can intercept a few more balls for us. And he has the speed and raw talents to be that guy if our coaching staff proves worthy of their salaries, and I have no doubt that Zimmer will ride this guy as hard as he needs to bring out the diamond in the rough. Oh he'll make mistakes and miss some tackles and such. He'll be a rookie, and he'll make rookie mistakes. And the NFL speed will likely come as a shock to him at first. But the Trojan Reunion Tour makes this an attractive pick, because he'll have former classmates around to help him learn the ropes. And knowing we have the coaching talent to turn this guy into a stud (so long as he'll work hard with them) solidifies it. Add in that we do have very good cover corners and I think he's even a better choice. A free safety who has the freedom to take a few chances going for the pick because he knows his corners are going to hold up their end of the bargain can accomplish great things. We need that kind of presence here in Cincinnati, assuming our coaches have the wit to use him properly. With Zimmer running the show, I'm sure we can.
Taylor Mays Highlights: