ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. released his fourth mock draft on Thursday and since his first release in January, not much has changed. He loves the Bengals selecting a first-round cornerback. True to his perspective, Kiper selected Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby.
We mentioned this on the First Draft podcast this week in breaking down the Bengals, but they're quietly pretty old in the secondary, with Terence Newman and Adam Jones both north of 30, and Leon Hall also close and coming off another injury-riddled season. In other words, corner could be a problem in a hurry in Cincy, and certainly the decision-makers there can see it and may not be content with just one cornerback from this draft. Roby can be a special player, with elite speed and change-of-direction quickness, he'll just need to clean up his fundamentals and avoid playing too physical.
Earlier this month, Kiper choose Roby and last month, went with Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier (the only mock draft that didn't feature a first-round cornerback). Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard was mocked in the first version.
Much like his three-round mock draft earlier this month, Kiper has the Bengals selecting Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio.
Health questions and consistency issues during his junior season caused Kouandjio's stock to take a hit, and in some ways it's hard for me to fathom him this low knowing what he can be if it all comes together, but Cincinnati once bet big on another Bama tackle and Andre Smith has worked out. Kouandjio in this range is a total value play and is worth a shot.
Kouandjio reportedly failed multiple teams' physicals during the NFL Combine with a bum knee. These reports have been disputed.
"I was surprised," Kouandjio said at Alabama's Pro Day last month. "It was interesting, but I never worried about it because I know and the film will tell you there’s nothing wrong with my knee."
Alabama held their second pro day last week and Kouandjio was reportedly impressive especially with "hand placement". The Cincinnati Bengals attended the workout.