The idea of Cincinnati selecting a first-round cornerback is starting to fade. At least that's the perspective of draft experts penning updated mock drafts. For nearly two months, SB Nation's weekly Mock Draft tabbed a defensive back -- mostly all cornerbacks, save for the random mentions of Louisville safety Calvin Pryor.
Now that Cincinnati lost defensive end Michael Johnson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, those focuses have change to a resolution to replace him. Last week, Mocking the Draft selected Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy. So did Don Banks with Sports Illustrated.
This week Mocking the Draft selected Auburn defensive end Dee Ford.
Losing Michael Johnson in free agency was a big blow to the Bengals. There aren't a ton of talented 4-3 defensive ends available in the 2014 NFL Draft, but Dee Ford is probably worth a late first-round pick. He doesn't have a ton of size, but he uses his speed well and shows surprising strength when rushing the passer.
ESPN ranked Dee Ford as the fourth-best prospect entering the 2014 NFL draft. CBS ranked him third-best and SB Nation's Mocking the Draft ranked him as the seventh-best outside linebacker, presumably in a base 3-4 defensive scheme where ESPN theorizes that "he might fit best" because his 6-foot-2, 243 pound frame is viewed as "undersized" at defensive end.
During Auburn's 34-31 loss to Florida State during the BCS Championship game this season, Ford generated two quarterback sacks. Many mock drafts have Ford going late in the first-round or early in the second.