Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro is a name being floated around for the Bengals in some mocks.
As we all know, it is mock-draft season and the experts can change their picks at any time. The latest round of mocks is out now, and there are some interesting theories out there as to how the Bengals will use the No. 21 overall pick.
In the following slideshow, we will take a glance at some of the expert's projections for the Bengals in the first round and diagnose whether the selection makes sense.
Let's take a look.
Alec Ogletree would fit perfectly in the Bengals' defensive schemes.
Getting better on defense will be the focal point of the draft for the Cincinnati Bengals—that and adding a running back. Looking at the class from a best player available mentality, it's easy to see Alec Ogletree being the pick as an outside linebacker in the Bengals' scheme.
Ogletree, who played middle linebacker at Georgia, has the athletic ability to slide outside and play in space. With his quickness and range, Alec can easily transition to the weakside, where he isn't asked to take on blockers head-on, but can work in pursuit and in pass coverage.
Miller hits the nail on the head here for the Bengals—Ogletree is an ideal candidate in the draft for Cincinnati simply because of his versatility. Both Rey Maualuga and Thomas Howard are free agents, and if the latter is not brought back, Ogletree would make sense.
The problem with this pick is Ogletree was recently arrested for a DUI ( Profootballtalk ). To Miller's credit, his mock was published long before the incident. It is still a great pick for the Bengals, but only if he falls into the second round.
Get to know the name, as Cyprien will continue to generate more attention as the tape spreads around. An interchangeable safety in the back half, Cyprien takes aggressive but reliable angles and never shies away from contact.
Norris has the perfect pick on his hands here for the Bengals in the first round. Cyprien has shot up draft boards, and scouts told Russ Lande of National Football Post they believe he is worthy of a second-round pick now—which he could improve upon as he continues to shock scouts.
Cyprien comes in at 6'1" and 210 pounds, and as Norris points out, can play either safety position. He could come in and start day one next to Reggie Nelson and solidify the secondary, allowing the team to focus on lesser needs with two second-round picks.
Kevin Minter fits a need for Cincinnati, but only if the team is keeping Vontaze Burfict on the outside.
With incumbent starting middle linebacker Rey Maualuga expected to be allowed to test free agency the Bengals could be looking at improving at this position on draft day. Minter was overshadowed a bit with the Tigers but enjoyed one of the greatest seasons by any inside linebacker in LSU history with 130 tackles, including 15 tackles for loss in 2012. Not only was he statistically dominant against elite competition, he has the range to stay on the field on third down.
Kevin Minter's statistics and performance while at LSU are staggering, but there is nothing to say he will play anywhere near that level in the NFL. There is also nothing to say that Minter will be better than Vontaze Burfict, who will slide over to inside linebacker next season.
Minter is a great player and will find a home with a team in need of an inside linebacker, but that team is not Cincinnati.
Eddie Lacy is a realistic option for the Bengals in the first round.
McShay says (Insider required):
This is too high for Lacy in my opinion, but some believe he's worth a top-20 pick and if Cincinnati has a high enough grade on him it would make sense from a needs standpoint. I would rather see the Bengals address a different position, but they've used so many early-round picks on players at key positions (QB, OL, WR, DL, CB, TE) in recent years that they might be able to afford a luxury pick like this. Defensive end could also be an option if the right player were available.
McShay's is right on two major points here. This is way too high for a player like Lacy in today's NFL, but that fact is nullified by his second great point—the Bengals can afford a luxury pick like Lacy here.
According to Scott Pioli, Lacy is an ideal every-down back in the NFL. He blocks well, runs hard between the tackles and can catch passes out of the backfield. Unless for some reason the Bengals can't bring back defensive end Michael Johnson, Lacy is the perfect pick here to round out the offense nicely.
Kenny Vaccaro would be a perfect fit for Cincinnati—if he falls that far.
Kiper says (Insider required):
This is just a big need spot for the Bengals. Reggie Nelson rated out pretty well for them, but the drop-off is significant from there. What you get in Vaccaro is a player who upgrades at either free or strong safety. Given Nelson's presence, Vaccaro should step in and be the Week 1 starter at strong safety. The Bengals need help at linebacker, and Vaccaro can actually offer that kind of presence, because he's a physical defender who can play in the box and defend the run effectively, or drop into coverage. He's a solid value here and fills a need.
Kenny Vaccaro would be a dream come true for the Bengals at No. 21. The problem is, the odds of him falling that far are about zero percent.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Vaccaro is viewed in league circles as a Top 10, potentially Top 5 selection when the draft rolls around. He is an amazing prospect that can change a defense instantly.
As Kiper points out, he is also versatile enough to slide over to strong safety, one of the weak points for the defense. Vaccaro next to Reggie Nelson would potentially give Cincinnati one of the NFL's top safety tandems, but it is simply not a realistic selection as of now.