It's been just 28 days since the 1.0 version of the 2013 Bengals.com Media Mock Draft of the first 21 picks, but that's plenty of time for free agency, pro days, and last week's NFL meetings to move the continental plates of consensus.
Yet one month can't change the major fault line of this draft and no one expresses it more eloquently than long-time Bengals radio voice Dave Lapham, in our booth to make Cincinnati's pick at No. 21.
"The guy at 10 in this draft," Lapham says, "is the same guy at 50."
Which is why after the Chargers get off the board at No. 11, teams are scrambling a bit. Not the scenario they want, is the refrain, and you can start with Miami at No. 12 when the Dolphins see Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson go right in front of them. Then you go to No. 15 and New Orleans mulling a board that no longer has one of the top three tackles or top three pass rushers before hitting Dallas at No. 18, where the Cowboys are wondering what to do without one of the top five offensive linemen available.
So Lapham proposes not a player, but a proposal.
A trade proposal.
"This is a good draft where you can help your depth and the Bengals are sitting pretty good with three of the top 54 picks," Lapham says. "Why not make if four in the first 54? I think it would be hard because I'm not sure there is a guy a team would be targeting at that point to move up and get. Why, if you can get the same kind of guy? Still, if you can do a trade, I'd do it in a heartbeat."
Without further ado, here's the Mock 2.0 version of this year's Bengals.com Mock Media, along with the pick in the March 1 Mock:
1. CHIEFS: LT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M; Adam Teicher, Kansas City Star: This thing can go a variety of ways, including a trade that now can be done in the rookie wage scale era. But with new head coach Andy Reid placing a big premium on left tackle and the Chiefs unable to get a long-term deal with franchise player Branden Albert, it would make sense to put Joeckel at right tackle and move him over to left next year. Or, they could either franchise Albert again or trade him. But taking Joeckel is what gives them all those options. Previous Pick: Joeckel.
2. JAGUARS: DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida; Vito Stellino, Florida Times-Union: Stellino took him four weeks ago and why change now? He's one of the hottest guys out there and Jacksonville's desperate need for a pass rusher hasn't changed. The Jags still finished last in the NFL in sacks last season and third to last against the run. Previous Pick: Floyd.
3. RAIDERS: LT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan; Jerry McDonald, Bay Area News Group: This is how hot Floyd is. The Raiders could very well take him, but if he's not there they'll go with the best lineman available. The Raiders may not know who their quarterback is with Carson Palmer on the move, but they'll have to protect him. Now more than ever. The shaky Reggie McKenzie regime that has now claimed one head coach and two quarterbacks is looking for stability by beefing up both lines. Previous Pick: LSU OLB Barkevious Mingo.
4. EAGLES: DE Dion Jordan, Oregon;Les Bowen, Philadelphia Daily News: The Eagles need a tackle (apparently not Andre Smith), but with the top two gone they figure to look pass rusher or they can try to trade back. Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson would be a fit, but Philly thinks he's a Nos. 10-12 guy. Jordan may be the hottest guy on the board next to Floyd and as the top pass rusher he would seem to be a great fit in Philly. He'd be reunited with college coach Chip Kelly in a 3-4 scheme that can use his coverage abilities as well as his quickness off the edge. Previous Pick: Fisher.
5. LIONS: OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU;Mike O'Hara, detroitlions.com: Detroit's pass rush took a hit in the last month with Cliff Avril leaving and Kyle VandenBosch getting released. The Lions did stave off some wounds in the secondary by re-signing cornerback Chris Houston and safety Louis Delmas as well as signing Texans safety Grover Quinn. But getting after the quarterback has become a desperate need. Previous pick: Alabama CB Dee Milliner.
6. BROWNS: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama;Tony Grossi, ESPNCleveland.com, WKNR Radio: Grossi is counting on the Lions taking BYU pass rusher Ziggy Ansah, but if they don't he believes the Browns have made enough moves on their front seven to justify not taking him. They failed to land a starting cornerback in free agency and he says "they desperately need one." Milliner would give the Browns a No. 6 pick to go along with a No. 7 in Joe Haden.
7. CARDINALS: G Chance Warmack, Alabama; Kent Somers, Arizona Republic. No, the Cards don't think there is a quarterback worthy of that pick and apparently think they can get one in the second round. Or maybe they're fitting a bird for Carson Palmer's helmet. But they feel certain that guard has been a trouble spot and they've got three tackles from which to choose. Previous Pick: Warmack.
8. BILLS: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee; Mark Gaughan, Buffalo News: Gaughan reserves the right to say that this pick could very well be a quarterback. But he's also reserving the right to say that the cupboard is virtually empty at wide receiver. Besides Stevie Johnson, the only guy the Bills have with any significant number of catches from last year is the 31 of T.J. Graham, last year's third-round pick. Previous Pick: Patterson.
9. JETS: DT Star Lotulelei, Utah; Rich Cimini ESPN New York: The Jets need a replacement for NT Sione Pouh, who was cut. Cimini says that Lotulelei could be Rex's Haloti Ngata, Baltimore's Pro Bowl nose man. Previous Pick: Jordan
10. TITANS: G Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina;Jim Wyatt, The Tennessean: With Mingo and Lotulelei off the board, the Titans can afford to roll the dice at guard in the wake of Steve Hutchinson's retirement. They went out and signed Bills guard Andy Levitre in free agency, as well as seven-year veteran Rob Turner. They'd like some defense (they finished 27th), but it may not be there. Previous Pick: Lotulelei.* *
11. CHARGERS: LT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma; Michael Gehlken, Union-Tribune San Diego: The Jared Gaither fiasco has forced San Diego's hand at left tackle. A year after giving Gaither a four-year, $24 million deal, the Chargers cut him and he'll count more millions against the salary cap this season (6) than games he played last season (4). At right tackle, they seem content to go with King Dunlap, a pickup from the Eagles with 20 career starts. Previous Pick: Johnson.
12. DOLPHINS: OLB Ziggy Ansah; BYU; Ben Volin, Palm Beach Post: Here's where teams start to scramble a bit. Miami would have loved Lane Johnson here after losing Jake Long to the Rams in free agency but they go with the Zigster as a pass-rushing bookend for Cameron Wake. They could use a corner here, but it sounds like one doesn't fit here with old friend Kevin Coyle looking to dial up some more blitzing in his second year as the Dolphins defensive coordinator and is reportedly looking for guys that can play zone. Previous Pick: Florida State CB Xavier Rhodes.
13. BUCCANEERS: DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri; Scott Reynolds, Pewter Report: The Bucs would have loved Lane Johnson and it looks like it might be too high for Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker. But they also need to give Gerald McCoy some help inside on the other line. Roy Miller, a third-rounder in 2009, and Brian Price, a second-rounder in 2010, are no longer there, so it may be time to go to the well again. Richardson could also spell McCoy in nickel situations at the three technique. Previous Pick: Georgia LB Alec Ogletree
14. PANTHERS: WR Keenan Allen, California; Joseph Person, Charlotte Observer; The Panthers are also going to be scrambling in this scenario but at least they have a need for a playmaker to go with Cam Newton, and Allen is a big (6-2, 210) physical guy they haven't had in a while. Plus, the fact he's a native of Greensboro, N.C., won't hurt with ownership. Previous Pick: Richardson.
15. SAINTS: LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia; Mike Triplett, New Orleans Times-Picayune: The top three tackles are gone and the top three pass rushers are gone. The Saints are banking on one of those six guys being there, but if not they could go anywhere on defense. Maybe a safety, maybe a cornerback, but Triplett opts for the most athletic backer in the draft to help the last-ranked defense in the NFL. Previous Pick: Florida State DE Bjoern Werner.
16. RAMS: WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia; Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Rams look to be out of the tackle derby with the free-agent signing of Jake Long, although if Lane Johnson somehow fell they'd grab him and put him at right tackle.
But that's not going to happen. What did happen in free agency is the Rams lost wide receiver Danny Amendola's 63 catches. They also added an explosive tight end in Jared Cook, and Austin would give quarterback Sam Bradford some more dangerous athleticism in an offense that was ranked only 18th passing the ball and 25th in scoring points. The plan would be to also give him the ball some out of the backfield a la Andrew Hawkins in the first year of the post-Steven Jackson era. It all makes you wonder what the Rams have planned for running back Isaiah Pead, their second-rounder from last year and a guy the Bengals really loved. The 5-8, 173-pound Austin has to be the right flavor. For teams like the Bengals and Steelers who covet big wideouts, it's not a match. But the Rams look like they're searching for another Greatest (Indoor) Show on Turf.
An interesting note: The Rams also pick at No. 22 and Thomas has the Bengals taking running back Eddie Lacy. Previous Pick: Austin.
17. STEELERS: S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas; Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The post-March 1 salary cap assault has left the Steelers looking "very ordinary" according to Dulac. He came to that conclusion as he filled out a depth chart last week and had trouble getting to the two-deep, and safety is a perfect example. Ryan Clark is 34 and this year could be it for Troy Polamalu a la James Harrison as he turns 32 the week before the draft. And when Will Allen signed with Dallas this month, the Steelers have nothing of substance in the cupboard behind them.
Pittsburgh doesn't have much depth at linebacker, either, and although 2010 second-rounder Jason Worlds hasn't been a world beater on the outside, that makes inside backer another hole the Steelers could fill here in the person of LSU's Kevin Minter. They've never replaced James Farrior, the career of Sean Spence, last year's third-round pick, is in doubt with a knee injury, and they re-signed Larry Foote. So Kansas State's Arthur Brown is probably also an option.
Austin doesn't fit Pittsburgh's penchant for big receivers and the Steelers got a similar specialty-type guy in running back Chris Rainey last year, but didn't find a way to use him. Previous Pick: Keenan Allen.
18. COWBOYS: RT D.J. Fluker, Alabama; Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas: Not a good scenario for the Cowboys. Not with the top five offensive linemen (three tackles, two guards) no longer available. They like Vaccaro, but he's gone in this one and there's not another first-round safety. It may be a bit high for the monstrous Fluker, who has Pro Bowl size but mid-round quickness. Yet Cowboys head coach John Garrett has ties to Alabama kingpin Nick Saban from his days as his quarterbacks coach with the Dolphins. Previous Pick: Cooper.
19. GIANTS: OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia; Mike Eisen, Giants.com: The Giants are looking for a tackle, too, and you can't rule it out. But the crop looks pretty picked over and the lack of linebacker depth is a big need, too. There's a school of thought that Jones doesn't quite fit the Giants scheme and that he's more of an outside backer in a 3-4. Certainly don't look for him in the Bengals 4-3. But the Giants are scrambling a bit here. With end Osi Umenyiora now in Atlanta, linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka is expected to replace him and the Giants re-signed old friend Keith Rivers after he played 11 games at both SAM and WILL. Previous Pick: Jarvis Jones.
20. BEARS: CB Desmond Trufant, Washington; Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune: The Bears solved their tackle needs in free agency when they signed Saints left tackle Jermon Bushrod and are now looking at their talented cornerbacks. Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings are heading into the last year of their deals and the Bears need a guy in the wings, as well as a guy that can help out in nickel. Previous Pick: Fluker.
21. BENGALS: TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame; Dave Lapham, Bengals radio analyst: The one thing this mock does is show you how important re-signing right tackle Andre Smith is in the Bengals draft plans. If they need a tackle, is there going to be one here? In this scenario, you'd think not.
And even if Smith does sign, Lapham allows the Bengals could pick anyone at any position here, depending on how their board ranks the players that are left. There is Lacy, the Alabama running back. There is Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes. There is Rhodes's teammate, defensive end Bjoern Werner.
But Lapham, who can't stand the idea of a running back going in the first round (especially one who hasn't run a 40 yet) goes with the 6-6, 255-pound Eifert. And not as a replacement for the inconsistent Jermaine Gresham, who, as Joe Reedy of The Cincinnati Enquirer has corrected us, is not in a contract year but is signed through 2014.
But this is the conversation about getting another playmaker to take the heat off A.J. Green.
"They're married to Gresham and Gresham is a good blocker as well as a guy that can make a big play," Lapham says. "But you add Eifert you're getting a hell of an athlete. He's not a blocker, but he's a great receiver. He gives you another threat. All you have to do is look at New England with (Rob) Gronkowski and (Aaron) Hernandez and what they've been able to do with athletic tight ends."
Another thing to keep in mind about Mock 2.0. There has been no quarterback taken. There has been no running back taken. There have been only two cornerbacks taken. So the Bengals are probably going to be looking at a pool of three or four more players not available here.
But it's pretty safe to say the tackles and pass rushers that are gone here are going to be gone on Draft Day.
Previous Pick: Vaccaro