NIT-NATI Mock Draft 2013

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20.  Chicago Bears – Alec Ogletree, ILB, GeorgiaWhile da Bears have serious needs at cornerback, could use an upgrade at tight end and center, and require depth at wide receiver, it’s hard to image Chicago passing on a player like Alec Ogletree.  Possibly a Top 10 talent in this year’s Draft, Ogletree is the top inner linebacker in this Draft, but falls because of character concerns.  However, at 21 years of age, this may be an issue that his work ethic and production could overshadow.  Like the recently departed Brian Urlacher, Ogletree is a converted safety with size, speed, and strength – a highly coveted combination from a team that plays a heavy Cover-2 defense.  Even though he was suspended for four games at the beginning of his senior year, Ogletree still posted 112 tackles; a testament to his solid technique and Day-One starter potential.

Oct 6, 2012; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns safety Kenny Vaccaro (4) looks into the back field during the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. West Virginia beat Texas 48-45. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

21.  Cincinnati Bengals – Kenny Vaccaro, FS, TexasThe Bengals will be racing to the podium to make this pick.  Even with the now unlikely resigning of Andre Smith, Cincinnati won’t be able to pass on a talent like Kenny Vaccaro should he slide to 21.  Vaccaro is the perfect safety for Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer: primarily a shallow zone-coverage player with a monster blitz ability stemming from a big frame and fast feet.  Further, Coach Zimmer’s secondary focuses on taking away the YAC, not necessarily the ball, so Vaccaro’s interception numbers won’t be held against him.  Remember also that while the Bengals need depth at running back and offensive tackle, they have absolutely nothing at strong safety right now.  Despite recent Draft success, the Bengals have drafted need under Head Coach Marvin Lewis for the better part of a decade now.  It’s unlikely to stop if Vaccaro is still on the board when they pick.

22.  Saint Louis Rams – Johnathan Cyprien, SS, Florida InternationalThe Rams need a running back in this year’s Draft, but it doesn’t come in the first round.  With their next pick coming at 46, a ball-carrier with starter caliber play will likely be around.  A safety like John Cyprien won’t.  Cyprien has been one of the most consistent prospects at any position this draft season.  After a great season with 93 tackles, 4 interceptions, 3 passes broken up, and a forced fumble, Cyprien continued to demonstrate his ability in the Senior Bowl, the Combine and his Pro Day.  Though he may not hail from a SEC school, he shows all the skills and grit that is required of a first round pick.  His hard work will likely manifest in a Week One start for Saint Louis.

23.  Minnesota Vikings – Desmond Trufant, CB, WashingtonThe Vikings have a need at cornerback, and Desmond Trufant is the perfect solution.  A near custom make for the Vikings’ zone defensive style of play, Trufant is a physical corner who matches up well against aggressive receivers and doesn’t get pushed around on routes or contesting for the ball.  To be fair, the back pedal-to-chase and stationary burst seen from Trufant is extremely rare, and his 3.85 time in the 20 yard shuttle at the Combine is proof of that.  The only possible hit on Trufant would be a weakness to support the run defense and confront running backs in space, something that Minnesota requires of its corners.  Another interesting piece, Desmond has two older brothers, Isaiah and Marcus, who are both veteran cornerbacks in the NFL for the Jets and Seahawks respectively.  Given his pedigree, Trufant is too much a value at a position of need to be disregarded.