Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Bengals need a safety. Veterans Chris Crocker and Nate Clements are both expensive and experienced, and the young talent is unreliable. The Bengals will likely acquire a rookie safety from the draft. They could even get one with their first pick.
Josh Norris of NFL.com predicts that the Bengals will take John Cyprien with their first pick, a safety from Florida International. Other safeties that could be chosen there are Eric Reid from LSU or Matt Elam from Florida.
Taking a safety in the first would mean that the Bengals must focus on a linebacker and running back in the second round. Texas A&M's Sean Porter could be that linebacker. Possible running backs include Clemson's Andre Ellington, North Carolina's Giovani Bernard and Oregon's Kenjon Barner.
By selecting a safety first, the Bengals will automatically upgrade their defensive secondary. Clements and Crocker will likely be lost to younger, more inexpensive talent. Adam Jones and Leon Hall both had solid years at corner, and Dre Kirkpatrick will be looking to stay healthy and, therefore, on the field.
Upgrading the linebacking core will then become the main priority, and the Bengals could spend as many as two of their first four picks on linebackers.
This then means that the running back role becomes the third biggest priority, which is good news for BenJarvus Green-Ellis. This would mean that the personnel department is looking for someone to complement Green-Ellis, rather than potentially replace him. This would be a risky move considering the Law Firm's attraction to the training tables the latter part of the 2012 season.
If a safety is taken first, it looks like this:
- Safety - Eric Reid, LSU
- Linebacker - Sean Porter, Texas A&M
- Running Back - Andre Ellington, Clemson