On Tuesday I asked for your strategy for the upcoming draft. Nate commented that he was less concerned with specific players than with overall value. That was exactly what I was hoping to discuss: what do you value? How would you draft to maximize the value for the Bengals, given what we know right now? The combine and free agency will likely change our approaches a little, and we can discuss those changes later.
So I am hitting the ‘reset’ button and asking my question in a totally different way.
The Scenario: the Bengals have just gone on the clock to make the 17th pick of the 2012 draft. These players are left on the board. (I know, not all of them will still be on the board, but I have seen almost all of them connected to the Bengals in different mock drafts.) Who do you take? And who do you really hope to still see sitting there when the 21st pick comes around?
Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
Scouting Profile: NFL scouts will love Barron’s size, as he registers at 6’2” and 218 pounds. He has decent speed, too, generally running in the mid-4.5s in the 40-yard dash while being clocked as fast as 4.47 from that distance. Barron is a solid pass defender, but he is best at stepping into the box and playing against the run right behind the line of scrimmage. He is both a hard hitter and a sure tackler.
David DeCastro, OG, Standford
Scouting Profile: Almost everything about this young man jumps out at you. With that in mind, he isn’t a special athlete, but beyond that DeCastro has all the tools necessary to be an elite lineman. He can mirror with the best of them because of great footwork. He’s got a great base that can anchor and hold up defenders. DeCastro has a thick frame from top to bottom and does very well to keep leverage with his pad level.
Alfonso Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Scouting Profile: Dennard is a classic example of an aggressive cornerback with good athleticism, but he lacks any elite skills. He’s a well-rounded cornerback who will need to improve his tackling; that aside, with some technique coaching he will develop into a solid pro.
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Scouting Profile: He is very good at the point of attack and displays a great knack at beating press coverage. Whether it is using his hands to disengage or simply shielding defenders away from the ball, Floyd can separate from his man in short spaces. Gifted with long arms and the ability to climb the ladder, he can make plays on deep balls. He is not blessed with elite speed, but can adequately challenge corners down the field.
Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
Scouting Profile: The Riverdale, GA native has outstanding size at 6’5” and 348 pounds. He generally runs in the 5.2s in the 40-yard dash and he has been clocked as fast as 5.12 from that distance. Glenn is relatively nimble, has a good burst off the ball, and is stellar in the run game. He isn’t athletic enough to play left tackle at the next level, but he will be a force in the middle of any offensive line.
Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Scouting Profile: He is a quick reaction player with elite quickness and above average speed. Jenkins really excels as a cover corner. He shows great body control, fluid motions and decisive movements to make plays on the ball. He is very aggressive when the ball is in the air, to the point that he will sometimes get beat for big plays.
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Scouting Profile: One of the tallest cornerbacks in the business, Kirkpatrick stands at 6’2” and 192 pounds. He doesn’t have top-notch speed to go along with his size, but he generally runs a 4.50 in the 40-yard dash and has been clocked as fast as 4.42 from that distance. Kirkpatrick will have to add some bulk to his lanky frame before he heads to the NFL…
Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
Scouting Profile: He generally runs in the 4.7s in the 40-yard dash and has been clocked as fast as 4.68 from that distance. He is not an elite athlete and his relative lack of speed has never allowed him to be a prolific pass-rusher or sack-master. Quite simply, though, Kuechly has an incredible nose for the ball and is one of the most fundamentally-sound tacklers in the business.
Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
Scouting Profile: Martin is a thick back that runs low to the ground. He lacks straight ahead speed, but he accelerates into the line of scrimmage very well. His ability to move well in crowded spaces helps him a great deal. Using agility and good balance, he’s able to fight for yards after contact.
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (FL)
Scouting Profile: Miller is built solidly at 5’11” and 212 pounds. His speed is what is going to earn him his paycheck on Sundays; he generally runs a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash and has been clocked as fast as 4.32 from that distance. With that combination of speed and size, Miller is a load to tackle and he rarely goes down on initial impact.
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Scouting Profile: Richardson stands at just 5’11”, but he is load to bring down at 224 pounds (not entirely unlike Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jaguars, although obviously not quite that short). He generally runs around a 4.50 in the 40-yard dash and has been clocked as fast as 4.42 from that distance. Richardson has especially impressive breakaway speed…
(I almost left Richardson off of this list because he is clearly the highest value and I doubt that he gets past the Jets at #16. But more than one mock draft has sent him to the Bengals, so I decided that I had to leave him in. If you take TR, please humor me and name a contingency pick.)
So there are the choices setting before you as you lead the Bengals war room. Do you bolster the running game by adding a powerful RB first? By beefing up the offensive line? Do you dare to take one of the talented-but-troubled CBs (Jenkins or Kirkpatrick)? Or do you get unconventional with a LB or WR? Which two of these first rounders maximizes the Bengals value in the draft?