Fansided NFL Mock Draft: Bengals Nab elite Cornerback; Other AFC North Picks


With the offseason in full-swing for the Cincinnati Bengals, they’re now shifting from watching film of opposing teams to film of potential college football players they could be drafting next May.

It’s always interesting to look at what players Cincinnati could potentially select to address areas of need on their team. The latest edition of Fansided 2014 NFL Mock Draft is out, and they have the Bengals drafting Oklahoma State Cowboys cornerback Justin Gilbert:

Dec 1, 2012; Waco, TX, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys cornerback Justin Gilbert (4) returns a kickoff during the second half against the Baylor Bears at Floyd Casey Stadium. The Bears defeated the Cowboys 41-34. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Gilbert is arguably the draft’s best overall cornerback, as he not only thrives in coverage, but is also one of the best return-men in this draft, and that feels two needs the Bengals have right now.

For whatever reason, people are beginning to sour on Gilbert, at least in the mock draft community, a he’s routinely falling into the late-teens and early-20s now.

This, after being projected as a top 10 pick since the college football season ended. Some players see their stock rise in the offseason after more film of them is produced, while others are unfortunately over-analyzed and see their stock drop.

I think some people are looking to hard at Gilbert’s weaknesses after he was proclaimed the draft’s best CB. Even CBS’ Sports Rob Rang and Dane Brugler have him falling to the Bengals in their latest mock draft.

Either way, he’d be a homerun for the Bengals, but it’s hard to see them getting Gilbert without moving up in the draft.

Watching the tape on Gilbert makes it easy to see the first-round potential in him, but Ian Wharton of the Bleacher Report had the most in-depth scouting report there is on Gilbert.

Here is a brief excerpt of it:

  • Excelled in man coverage, despite rarely having a deep safety to help.
  • Burn percentage of 16 percent, which is elite for man coverage.
  • Very good athlete with great leaping ability; can high-point to steal the ball out from the wide receiver’s hands.
  • Gilbert was a terrific return man throughout his career, notching six touchdowns and averaging 26.3 yards per kick return. He can impact the game positively for a team right away.
  • Long arms and bigger frame force tight windows for quarterbacks. He’s able to swat the ball away right before the receiver can make the completion.


  • He rarely played in press coverage. He didn’t show a good initial punch at the line of scrimmage and would fall behind the receiver almost instantly.
  • His hips can be stiff, causing change of direction to be lacking against more sudden athletes. Defending quick outs, deep comebacks and dig routes are a concern.
  • Burn percentage of 30 percent in zone, often biting too hard on double moves or sticking with his zone too long. After playing in zone for most of his junior season, some progression was expected, but he is still not comfortable or very effective in zone.

NFL Comparison: Johnathan Joseph, CB, Houston Texans

He’s exactly what the Bengals need right now, and if he’s on the board at No. 24, expect to hear his name called.

AFC North Selections: 

4. Cleveland Browns Selection: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

15. Pittsburgh Steelers Selection: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

16. Baltimore Ravens Selection: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

If that were to happen, the Ravens would get arguably the draft’s best WR prospects, while the Browns would get the best QB they’ve had since Tim coach.

The Steelers would also significantly upgrade their aging secondary,

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