What will the Cincinnati Bengals do in the 2014 NFL draft? Keep track of all the predictions made in our mock drafts leading up to Round 1 on May 8.
Round 1, pick 24: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
We said: The Bengals could still get a valuable pass-rusher in this draft later on, but if you want a high-quality corner (and Marvin Lewis should), the first round is where to get that guy. And when you’re dealing late in the first round, it’s time to look at value picks. Verrett will probably be underrated by some teams because his 5-9 frame doesn’t fit the way things are trending, but he’s proven that he plays bigger than he is. Verrett is an aggressive defender who can jump routes with consistency and has a knack for making plays even when the ball goes away from the man he’s covering.
Round 1, pick 24: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
We said: Injury issues behind him, Fuller has reestablished himself as a legitimate first-round option at cornerback. He turned in a 4.49 40 time at the combine — not blazing fast but plenty good enough to keep his arrow pointing upward. The Bengals would love to be in position to pick between Fuller and Jason Verrett here. It’d be hard to go wrong either way.
Round 2, pick 55: Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
Round 1, pick 24: LaMarcus Joyner, CB, Florida State
We said: With Leon Hall coming off a season-ending Achilles tear, and both Terence Newman and Adam Jones showing signs of age, cornerback looks like the obvious front-burner need for the Bengals. Dennard and Gilbert, the draft's top two cover men, are gone, but Joyner is an intriguing prospect who makes up for his lack of ideal size (5-8, 187) with good instincts and a knack for finding the football. He has drawn comparisons to Arizona's Tyrann Mathieu in that regard, and -- very similar to the onetime Honey Badger -- his role in the NFL is projected as a hybrid slot corner or safety. If the Bengals pass on a defensive back in favor of another need at defensive end, Missouri's Kony Ealy could be their target.
Round 1, pick 24: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
We said: The Bengals have an elite penetrating defensive tackle in the great Geno Atkins, but when Atkins was hurt last season, there weren’t any real complementary answers. Besides, rotational stability is the key to great defensive fronts these days. Jernigan is an attack tackle who needs to improve his speed and timing off the snap, but has all the elements to be a fine presence in any defensive line.
Round 1, pick 24: Lamarcus Joyner, CB, Florida State
We said: Joyner is on the smaller side at 5-8, 190, so he may wind up as a slot corner (and he’d do a great job there). But he has shown the ability to play — and play well — at safety. Cincinnati has a nice mix of youth and experience in its secondary, so bringing a player of Joyner’s ilk would provide valuable depth and cover the Bengals at multiple spots.
Round 1, pick 25: Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
We said: In paying Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, the Bengals all but assured that DE Michael Johnson would leave via free agency this summer. And in drafting Beasley, they would uncover a cheaper and possibly as-productive replacement.
Round 1, pick 26: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
We said: A bit of a luxury pick for the deep Bengals, the talented Verrett could give them arguably the league’s best group of corners — Leon Hall, 2012 first-rounder Dre Kirkpatrick, Terence Newman and Adam Jones are there already. Newman, 35 and with one year left on his deal, will require a replacement soon.
Round 1, pick 26: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
We said: Another potential underclassman, I’m guessing Parker would declare for the draft if he and Bridgewater dominated again. Parker stepped up as Louisville’s top option in 2012 (40 catches, 10 TDs) and brings a tantalizing mix of speed and size to the table.