2012 NFL Mock Draft: Cincinnati Bengals Full 7 Round Predictions
After a surprise 2011 season in which the Bengals made a run at the AFC North title early in the season before settling for a wildcard berth, the 2012 NFL Draft will provide an opportunity to fill any remaining holes so that they can take the next step and leap over Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
With an extra first-round pick obtained from Oakland in the Carson Palmer trade, and an extra fifth rounder gained from sending Chad Ochocinco to New England, there is a great opportunity to add the talent they need to be a threat to win the division for the next few years.
Here is who I feel would be the best choices when the Bengals are on the clock in April.
1st Round, Pick 17- David Decastro, Stanford OG
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With their first of two picks in the first round, I see the Bengals looking to upgrade the offensive line, and DeCastro is about as safe of a pick as they could make.
With the top three guards on the Bengals depth chart set to be free agents after the season, they really could use some help on the interior of the line. Bobbie Williams, the team's best guard, is 36 and broke his ankle in December, so he may not return.
DeCastro could step right in and start from day one and provide a great push in the Bengals' run game. He is also great as a pass blocker. There are no weaknesses in DeCastro's game.
1st Round, Pick 22- Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska CB
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Cornerback may be the biggest area of need for the Bengals going into the offseason. Leon Hall will be coming back from a torn Achilles tendon, Nate Clements has been decent but is not a top level corner, and Pacman Jones is not anything near the player he was a few years back.
Dennard is a physical corner who is adept at jamming receivers off the line and is equally comfortable playing man coverage or in a zone scheme.
At 5'10'' and 205 pounds, Dennard has the frame to take on running backs coming at him, and he is a solid wrap up tackler.
If DeCastro is off the board when the Bengals are picking at 17, don't be surprised if they take Dennard at that spot.
2nd Round, Pick 54- Doug Martin, Boise State RB
Stop me if you've heard this before, but Cedric Benson is nearing the end of his career and may not be back in Cincinnati next year.
Trying to squeeze another 1,000-yard season out of Benson is just not a good idea. Barnard Scott is a nice complementary back but not someone who can shoulder the carries of a lead back. Clearly some help is needed.
Boise State's Doug Martin is the perfect replacement for Benson as a tough inside runner and offers more in the passing game than Benson does. Martin has good speed, can break tackles with his compact stature, and is highly competitive.
I don't see the Bengals going with a running back in the first round with a few good options looking to be available in the second round.
3rd Round, Pick 86- Josh Chapman, Alabama DT
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The strength of the Bengals team this year is the quality depth they have on the defensive line. Keeping that depth may require Cincy to add a player as Pat Sims will be a free agent.
Chapman is a run-stuffing defensive tackle from Alabama whose style of play would be a nice complement to the pass rushing skill set of Geno Atkins.
4th Round, Pick 118- David Molk, Michigan C
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Kyle Cook has done a good job at center for the Bengals, starting every game the past three years. Depth behind him is questionable, as Mike McGlynn is the backup while also being forced into the starting lineup at guard.
Molk, the Rimington Award winner as the nation's best center, would be a good option at this point to provide depth at center while not being asked to start right away.
Molk has the drive and heart needed to be a starter in the NFL, but may need to add 15 to 20 pounds to be able to handle the nose tackles he will see in the AFC North.
5th Round, Pick 150- Keith Tandy, West Virginia CB
Adding another corner here would not be a bad idea with the concerns previously mentioned about Nate Clements and Pacman Jones.
Keith Tandy from West Virginia is solid in all aspects of the game, as he is able to cover receivers one on one and plays well in a zone as well.
Tandy is also a good tackler and does well at sniffing out screens, as seen in this video.
Taking two corners may seem like overkill, but you can't have enough quality cover guys in what has become a passing dominated league.
5th Round, Pick 159- Jordan White, Western Michigan WR
This pick comes via the trade of Chad Ochocinco to the Patriots. After the year Chad has had in New England, I am quite happy with getting this high of a pick for him.
While receiver may not seem to be a huge need for the Bengals, Jerome Simpson may not be back and Jordan Shipley will be returning after tearing two ligaments in his knee in September.
Jordan White has had some injury problems of his own, which may lead to him being available here, but when healthy has been a major source of offense for Western Michigan. Healthy the past two seasons, White caught 94 passes for 1,378 yards and 10 TDs in 2010 and then followed that up with an incredible 140 catches for 1,911 yards and 17 TDs this year.
If there is any doubt about his hands, check out the video.
6th Round, Pick 172- Jerry Franklin, Arkansas ILB
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Rey Maualuga has finally been placed where he belongs at middle linebacker. Maualuga is a beast stopping the run, but his playing style leads to him being nicked up a bit. Rey missed three games in 2011 and could use a quality backup.
Jerry Franklin from Arkansas is a durable and productive inside linebacker, starting 49 games in his career and leading the team in tackles all four years of his college career.
That kind of production and durability in a conference like the SEC is worth taking a shot on in the sixth round.
7th Round, Pick 204- Tony Dye, UCLA SS
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With their final pick, I wouldn't mind Cincy getting a strong safety to develop for the future.
Tony Dye out of UCLA is something of a typical strong safety in that he is a solid tackler, but makes a few mistakes in the passing game due to being so aggressive in wanting to stop the run.
You never know what you are getting this late in the draft, getting a player who is good at one specific area would be just fine.