It’s always tough trying to mock players and assess team needs when it comes to the Cincinnati Bengals, because they are just such an incredibly deep team. I mean, I don’t think they are thin at any position or really have any gaping team needs. To be honest with you, all the Bengals need to do is add some more star talent, and it’s part of the reason why it’s so difficult to critique mock drafts.
Each week, friend of the site Josh Sanchez at the FanSided.com main site does a 2014 NFL Mock Draft, and I always like to analyze his picks periodically to get some draft discussion going for each individual team. This week, Sanchez has the Cincinnati Bengals taking cornerback Jason Verrett off of the board, and it’s a pick that I am a fan of.
The Bengals have depth at corner with shutdown CB Leon Hall, Adam Jones, former Alabama standout Dre Kirkpatrick, and veteran Terence Newman. But with Hall injured right now, I think we’re starting to see that the Bengals could definitely use another cornerback to add to the mix, especially one with Jason Verrett’s ability.
I understand all the talk surrounding Justin Gilbert, and he’s a phenomenal athlete who can break the game open with his return ability. He has more athleticism than Verrett, but I think Verrett is the better corner and better draft prospect. Words like “upside” and “potential” are big cache words when it comes to the draft, and those words can certainly be applied to Gilbert.
To me, Verrett is the best corner in this draft class, and that’s saying something given how talented Gilbert, Michigan State corner Darqueze Dennard, and Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu are. But Verrett’s football IQ, size, strength, and coverage ability set him apart from the rest. Simply put, he’s the best lockdown corner in college football, and he’s vastly important to what TCU does on defense. He doesn’t make huge plays, but he makes plays (just not huge ones a la Justin Gilbert) and has a real knack for defending passes (the term “ballhawk” comes to mind). I think Verrett has all the tools to be a shutdown corner in the pros, and what really sets him apart is the fact that he’s a very “safe” pick at the cornerback position.
Corners are put at a premium in this league, and the Bengals would do themselves well to pick up Verrett and add a premier corner in this year’s draft class. For my money, Verrett is the best CB in this year’s draft, and he and Jace Amaro would be the “best available” players for the Bengals with the 24th pick in the draft. And since the Bengals clearly don’t need a TE (I mean, they drafted Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert last year), Amaro makes no sense.