The weekly Mel Kiper Jr.and Todd McShay draft debates are revving up now that the offseason is here and NFL draft is what’s on everyone’s mind.
The two ESPN draftniks just released their latest mock drafts in time for their now-weekly “Dual Mock Drafts” segment on ESPN. Like many, they have the Cincinnati Bengals going defense in the first-round.
For McShay, he gave the Bengals a versatile defensive back in Lamarcus Joyner out of Florida State.
Analysis: Defensive end is one of Cincinnati’s top needs, but the only available prospect worth drafting in this scenario is Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt, who is a better fit as a 5-technique in a 3-4 defense.
But cornerback is also among the team’s top three needs, and Joyner is one of the best defensive playmakers in this class (plus, he fits the Bengals’ M.O. of drafting big-name players from traditional powerhouse schools).
Joyner lacks elite size but he is a quick, fast, instinctive defensive back who plays bigger than his size, and could play a Tyrann Mathieu role for this defense. If Cincy passes on a corner at No. 24, it could find a very good one in Round 2.
This would be a great pickup just from the standpoint that Joyner will be able to contribute at multiple positions. With Chris Crocker and Taylor Mays set to be free agents, some depth at safety is a big need.
Joyner could also serve as a cornerback if(more like when) Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick and/or Terence Newman are injured and miss time.
Not to mention Leon Hall may open the year on PUP and Joyner could be one injury away from starting at CB.