In their latest mock drafts unveiled Thursday afternoon, ESPN draft insiders Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay were thinking along the same lines when it came to their first-round projections for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Both believe the cornerback position will be one of the top areas of concern for the Bengals during draft weekend, and that's why they each picked one.
Like he did in his Mock Draft 1.0, Kiper pegged Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard as the Bengals' selection at No. 24. Due to the Bengals' age (Terence Newman and Adam Jones are over 30) and health (fellow veteran Leon Hall is coming off his second Achilles tear in three seasons) at the position, Kiper believes they need to draft a cornerback who would be capable of starting right away. He believes Dennard could.
McShay went a slightly different direction, picking the smaller Lamarcus Joyner from Florida State. A player with first-round talent who could slip into the second round simply because of his size (5-foot-11½, 189 pounds), Joyner could end up a relative steal. Even though he will be an early-round player, he has the kind of blue-collar attitude that is more prevalent in late-round or undrafted players. It's an attitude the Bengals love having in their locker room. Think Vontaze Burfict's mental makeup, but at cornerback. After spending two and a half years covering Joyner, I feel comfortable making that comparison. McShay believes he could have a Tyrann Mathieu-type impact for Cincinnati.