Kenny Vaccaro is the top safety prospect by far in this year's draft class.
The 2013 NFL draft is only 22 days away, and teams like the Cincinnati Bengals are beginning to develop their strategies. Big boards are becoming more clear, and certain players will be targeted at particular spots in the draft. All things considered, what would possess the Bengals to trade up from pick No. 21 overall?
There are several factors that would come into play for the Bengals to make such a move. The right teams need to be involved, the right players available and the right offer presented. This could all potentially come into play for Cincinnati on April 25.
It seems as though the Bengals could be keying in on a particular first-round prospect. That player would be Kenny Vaccaro of Texas—the top-rated safety in this year's class.
The Bengals' interest in Vaccaro became blatantly obvious on March 26—the Longhorns' pro day.
Cincinnati will usually send its position coaches to a pro day that provides a prospect worth a look. For instance, on Matt Elam's pro day—the second-rated safety out of Florida—the Bengals sent secondary coach Mark Carrier to work him out (via SB Nation).
The big difference in Vaccaro's pro day is the fact that Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer conducted the drills himself (via CBS Sports). This is a very rare occurrence and will only happen if there is serious, legitimate interest in a prospect.
News of the Bengals' interest in Vaccaro struck again when the safety tweeted Wednesday morning that he was on a flight to Cincinnati.
Early flight to cincy✈— Kenny Dwayne Vaccaro (@KennyVaccaro4) April 3, 2013
This was confirmed by Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer Wednesday afternoon.
It seems clear that the Bengals are pulling out all the stops in effort to court this great coverage safety make him their selection on draft day.
Now that the player has been identified, what do the Bengals need to do to acquire him?
Due to a weaker draft class this year, teams will be looking to trade down out of the first half of round 1 to acquire a prospect that will require a smaller price tag. This is because there is not much of a gap in talent at many positions between the early and late first round.
Looking at the order of the 2013 NFL draft, there are certain teams that could potentially snag Vaccaro before the Bengals get on the board at 21. The most obvious of these teams is the Pittsburgh Steelers at 17 and the Dallas Cowboys at 18 overall.
Luckily for the Bengals, the St. Louis Rams currently hold the 16th overall selection.
The Rams could be on the market for a wide receiver in the first round and could possibly get their target player five picks later if he is still available at 16. Each team that is between 16 and 21 overall is not in the market at this position—at least not in the first round.
The price for this trade would cost the Bengals their third-round pick in this year's draft. However, they currently have two second-round picks due to the Carson Palmer trade. The extra pick in this round could give the Bengals incentive to part with their third-round selection.
In this scenario, the Rams would be satisfied by getting their targeted player and acquiring another draft pick for a rebuilding team.
The Bengals would also benefit by having the safety they have been lacking for quite some time and still have two more picks within the first 53 selections in the draft.
The two second-round picks could easily be used on a linebacker and a running back which would fill the greatest needs for Cincinnati coming into the draft.
Even though the Bengals are not known for these types of moves, this could be the year that allows them to take advantage of a weaker draft class and make a move that they generally would have avoided in the past.