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NFP Mock Draft: Bengals Take Wide Receiver In First Round

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Russ Lande with The National Football Post did his post-Senior Bowl mock draft recently and he has the Bengals going in a bit of a different direction for the Bengals at No.21.

Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

'Tis the season for mock drafts. Most of the one that have been published seem to have the Bengals going in one of two directions: safety or linebacker. The common names linked to Cincinnati with their No.21 pick in the first round is Texas' Kenny Vaccaro at safety, and either Kansas State's Arthur Brown or Georgia's Alec Ogletree at linebacker. Russ Lande of The National Football Post goes a different direction.

The well-respected Lande has the Bengals selecting Louisiana Tech wide receiver, Quinton Patton.

A.J. Green has developed into a premier receiver, but the Bengals need to find other weapons for Andy Dalton to throw to if their offense is going to take the next step. Patton has rare acceleration and speed for a 6’0 receiver and after his display at the Senior Bowl I do not think anyone questions his hands and ability to play at a high level in the NFL.

For those who are unfamiliar with Patton, he has been a fast riser over the past few weeks--so much so that Lande has him as his second-ranked receiver in this year's draft and the No.21 prospect overall. Patton has had two productive seasons in the last couple of years, with his senior yeaar being quite impressive. In 2012, he had 104 catches for 1,392 yards and 13 touchdown receptions. He started blossoming the year prior with 79 catches, 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He has good size at 6'2" and 195 pounds and if he runs well at the Combine, he could improve his stock even more. As Lande mentioned, the Bengals still need to figure out the starting wide receiver spot opposite Green and Patton could fill that need. Though the team and fans are high on both Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, they battled injuries and inconsistency as rookies, so the team has a huge decision to face at the position going into 2013.

Regardless of that decision, the Bengals still might have a need at the position because of the impending free agent status of Brandon Tate. It's just a matter of who is available at No.21 and which player the team fills the biggest need and provides the best value. Patton could be in the mix for that discussion.