Cincinnati Bengals 2012 NFL Draft Targets
It's never too early regarding the NFL draft for any franchise, even if Cincinnati is currently 6-2. Owner Mike Brown has been phenomenal recently, with his best moves involving quarterbacks.
Finding the team's franchise quarterback with Andy Dalton in the second round is exceptional in addition to adding a first- and second-round pick for Carson Palmer.
With Cincinnati expected to use its first two picks in the middle of the opening round, trading up will have to occur for the Bengals to select some of these players.
The targets for Cincinnati include positions and ideal players to fill each hole with secondary options if the best fit cannot be selected.
5. Tight End: Dwayne Allen
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This may seem off-the-wall, but tight end may not be a bad position for Cincinnati to use a second-round pick on.
Yes, the Bengals took Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham just two drafts ago, but Jay Gruden could use two tight end sets if the offense switches to a power running style like the team was successful with in 2009.
Clemson's Dwayne Allen is well-rounded, being a good pass-catcher in addition to blocker.
He's the top tight end, but it doesn't necessarily mean Cincinnati needs him or no one else. Georgia's Orson Charles and Stanford's Coby Fleener could be had a round later than Allen.
4. Interior Offensive Line: Cordy Glenn
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Cincinnati could use an upgrade at one of the guard spots
Cordy Glenn is a large man at 6'5" and nearly 350 pounds.
Whom the Bengals take if the team selects an interior lineman will tell fans which direction it's taking on offense.
Opting for Glenn may mean a power running game to come, while taking someone more well-rounded like Stanford's David DeCastro could be interpreted as building more around Andy Dalton.
It'd be great if the Bengals packaged a power run-blocker with a power runner in the draft for the team's future on offense.
The last time an organization added such great physicality in a package deal was the San Francisco 49ers, taking Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis in the first round of the 2010 draft.
3. Safety: Markelle Martin
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Speaking of game-changing defensive players, Cincinnati has been rotating guys at the safety position for around three seasons now.
Currently, the only good team in 2011 with such bad, inconsistent safety play is the New England Patriots.
Mentioned is Markelle Martin, but the pick will really be Cincinnati's player of choice. The safety position being ranked ahead of Dwayne Allen isn't to say that Martin is a better player, just a more pending need.
Others at the safety position, like USC's T.J. McDonald and Alabama's Robert Lester are other options that could be taken.
Taking a safety who won't cost as much as a second-round pick should be enough to take a top-notch player at the position.
If I'm Mike Brown, I'll gladly trade this pick in addition to a later selection to move up and take the next player on the countdown.
2. Cornerback: Morris Claiborne
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While Cincinnati may not get the chance to add LSU's best player, Morris Claiborne, help in the secondary is still needed.
The Bengals have great depth to rotate on the defensive line, but the team could use corners who can cover for five seconds if need be.
With both first-round picks (including the Raiders' selection) expected to be in the middle of the first round, Cincinnati could opt to trade up for Claiborne or stay put and take someone like Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick.
Moving up in the first round should not mean packaging another first-round pick in order to do so.
About the only way Cincinnati will have the chance to make such a move without losing a first-rounder would mean Claiborne falling out of the top 10, which isn't likely.
While Kirkpatrick and South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore are solid, the Bengals could use a game-changer for its solid defense. Whatever Cincinnati does, owner Mike Brown should avoid the troubled Janoris Jenkins.
1. Running Back: Trent Richardson
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Alabama's running back would be nice to pair with current rookie AJ Green for an offensive weapon.
Cedric Benson is averaging under four yards per carry, and his contract is up at season's end.
Trent Richardson is somewhat like Benson when the Bengals' runner was coming out of Texas, but it's not to say Richardson will disappoint.
Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is doing a great job, and the Bengals are best as a power running football team with two massive offensive tackles in Andre Smith and Andrew Whitworth.
Finding a way to grab Richardson with one of the two first-round picks at Cincinnati's disposal, even if it takes trading up, would be worth it, as long as it doesn't involve surrendering multiple second-round selections.
The Hurricanes' Lamar Miller is good, but it'd be wiser to trade up for the much better Richardson. Quality over quantity is crucial at this point in time for Cincinnati.
Taking running backs high in the first round is more of a luxurious pick, but the future quarterback is in place while both lines are in good enough shape.
Richardson would be the physical back Cincinnati could use when going up against Baltimore and Pittsburgh two times a season each.