With Cincinnati still alive in what appears to be a heated AFC playoff race, it seems a little crazy to be thinking about the NFL Draft. But since we’re used to doing that this time of year (when the Bengals have already eliminated themselves), old habits die hard. Plus, this season Cincinnati gets two first-rounders thanks to the Carson Palmer trade. My guess is that both picks will lie somewhere in the last third of the first round.
Here’s a quick look at a few prospects who could land there and how they might fit with the Bengals:
David DeCastro, G, Stanford – Even with Clint Boling on the roster, Cincinnati might look to add another guard in the offseason, perhaps someone who could play on the left side. With Andy Dalton playing well, it makes a lot of sense to protect Cincinnati’s franchise quarterback with a solid offensive line. DeCastro, who is 6-4 and 313 pounds, “is ready to start in the NFL,” according to ESPN’s Todd McShay and should be pretty intelligent considering his Stanford pedigree.
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame – Even though our own Nick Seuberling, a huge Fighting Irish fanboy, would probably endorse this pick, it doesn’t make great sense for the Bengals. While Floyd would present huge matchup problems for the defense (who the heck are you going to cover?), the Bengals already have a game-breaking wideout in A.J. Green. There’s no need for another top-tier one. (Who are we, the Detroit Lions?). Cincinnati has plenty of playmakers with Green, Jermaine Gresham, Andrew Hawkins, and Jordan Shipley when he returns. I’d prefer that the team address other areas of need first before looking to the wideout position.
Running backs: Outside of Alabama’s Trent Richardson, who is expected to be a top pick, most prognosticators don’t expect many first-round running backs. Mid-tier players like Virginia Tech’s David Wilson and Washington’s Chris Polk could be targets for the Bengals. On a side (and a homer) note, I think Ohio State’s “Boom” Herron could be a sleeper in this year’s draft. He doesn’t possess elite speed, but he is a North-South runner who has put up some good statistics against quality competition. I’d be happy to see the Bengals snag him at some point.
There’s a lot of football to be played before the Bengals walk to the podium for their first pick, but it’s always fun to think ahead. Especially when it might make for a even brighter future.