With Carson Palmer in the fold, the Bengals' No. 1 pick on Saturday now becomes the first pick in the second round at No. 33. The bengals.com mock draft taps Illinois cornerback Eugene Wilson, a selection courtesy of NFL.com's Gil Brandt, one of the architects of America's Team in Dallas in the '60s and '70s.
But like any mock draft, it can become a mockery quite quickly with the first trade, and that's exactly what happened Friday with word that the Bears had agreed to send the fourth pick to the Jets for the 13th and 22nd picks.
And, the Bengals may very well not end up at No. 33, since they have an extra fourth-round pick because of the Curtis Keaton trade and could use it to trade back up into the first round. Or, they could trade back in the second round for some extra picks.
Yet, the Bengals would no doubt love what the bengals.com panel of beat reporters left them at the top of the second round. Not only was Wilson still on the board, but there was also a group of wide receivers, safeties, offensive linemen, and, yes, some of those running backs coach Marvin Lewis has discussed internally.
With some athletic linebackers also looming out there, the No. 33rd pick is going to test Lewis' best-player credo. One guy who fell in this mock, Iowa guard-tackle Eric Steinbach, has close to no shot of being there.
Brandt tapped the 5-10, 189-pound Wilson even though he didn't have the same big stat year he had as a junior when he knocked down a pass in every game. Still, he is seen as a No. 2 corner right away who rarely gets beat.
"I've got them taking a corner instead of a receiver or offensive linemen because you can always get those and good corners are hard to find," Brandt said. "There are a lot corners, about 20 in this draft, and after the top two (Terence Newman and Marcus Trufant) the next three are damn good ones who will play in the league and (Wilson) is right there. He's a good, tough Midwestern (Indiana) kid who has played a lot of man at Illinois. He's physical enough and runs (4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash) well enough."
Here is how the panel got to No. 33:
32. OAKLAND _ Rashean Mathis, S-CB, Bethune-Cookman, selected by John Clayton, ESPN.com _ If running back Willis McGahee is there, watch out. If not, look for the Raiders to deal out. If they can't, the 6-05, 200-pound Mathis can help a secondary that lost Anthony Dorsett and is looking to get big with the 6-2 Tory James, now standing tall in Cincinnati.
31. OAKLAND: Dewayne White, DE, Louisville, selected by John Clayton, ESPN.com. They won't opt for a center because Barret Robbins is expected back after his Super Bowl problems. They will most likely want to trade here, but if not, White, a former USA Conference Player of the Year, fills a need because Tony Bryant has a neck injury making him iffy. **
- PHILADELPHIA _ Willis McGahee, RB, Miami, selected by Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Inquirer.* The Eagles are clearly intrigued with him and they've got enough depth (Duce Staley, Correll Buckhalter,) to wait while McGahee comes off his knee injury. And coach Andy Reid always seems interested in acquiring another running back. Especially a back that can catch the ball like McGahee.*
- GREEN BAY _ E.J Henderson, ILB, Maryland, selected by Tom Silverstein, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.New linebackers coach Mark Duffner, the former Bengals defensive coordinator, gets a No. 1 in his first season up north as he looks to replace Hardy Nickerson.
28.TENNESSEE _ Tyrone Calico, WR, Middle Tennessee State, selected by Jim Wyatt, The Tennessean.The Titans are also looking at McGahee, but they would probably prefer to trade back. But they need skill players, particularly a speed wideout because they have no proven down-field threat with the loss of Kevin Dyson.
27.PITTSBURGH _ Rex Grossman, QB, Florida, selected by Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post Gazette.With the top safety gone (USC's Troy Polamalu) and cornerback Andre Woolfolk gone at this point, the Steelers realize Tommy Maddox turns 32 early this season. Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey is supposedly a big Rex fan.
- SAN FRANCISCO_ Taylor Jacobs, WR, Florida, selected by Clark Judge, FoxSports.com.Don't the Niners always talk quarterbacks? So they're talking Grossman, but the crying need is a No. 2 wideout opposite Terrell Owens. J.J. Stokes looks to be a salary-cap casualty before the season, Tai Streets looks like he's gone after this one, and how easy is Owens going to be to re-sign next year?
25 GIANTS _Kenny Peterson, DE, Ohio State, selected by Peter King, Sports Illustrated. The Giants are committed to taking three defensive linemen early after finishing 16th in the league against the rush.
- INDIANAPOLIS _ Jason Witten, Tennessee, TE, selected by Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star. A pure hunch here because it's too high to get a safety and cornerback. They need a tight end to keep Peyton Manning's offense well-oiled and to maximize featured tight end Marcus Pollard.
- BUFFALO: Sammy Davis, CB, Texas A&M, selected by Mark Gaughan, Buffalo News.** Like 87 other teams, the Bills seek a defensive lineman, but there is a pause here because so many have come off the board. They are a prime candidate to try and trade up to get one, or trade back for the cornerback with Antoine Winfield's future with the club hazy.
22. CHICAGO _ Kyle Boller, QB, California, selected by John Mullin, Chicago Tribune. The Bears traded the fourth pick down to make this pick, so they could make sure they get in front of the Packers to take a quarterback and they wanted to get one of the top four. If Boller is gone, they go with Grossman. **
- CLEVELAND _ Andre Woolfolk, CB, Oklahoma, selected by Tony Grossi, Cleveland Plain Dealer.They would be in a dilemma with Iowa G-T Eric Steinbach sitting there, but Butch Davis' M.O. is to not take an offensive linemen in the first round. It's a hunch here, but Woolfolk is making the switch from wide receiver and the Browns took a similar guy in the 2001 draft in wide receiver Dennis Northcutt after he began his college career as a cornerback.
- DENVER _ Michael Haynes, DE, Penn State, selected by Lynn DeBruin, Rocky Mountain News.They could go cornerback, and they need an offensive tackle, but they're another team that doesn't like to take first-round linemen.
- NEW ENGLAND _ Ty Warren, DT, Texas A&M, selected by Nick Cafardo, The Boston Globe.** The Patriots are a team that figures to desperately trade up for a 3-4, two-gap defensive tackle if they don't get him with their first pick at 14. Only Warren, Georgia's Jonathan Sullivan, and Kentucky's Dewayne Robertson fit the style.
18. NEW ORLEANS _ Troy Polamalu, S, USC, selected by Jeff Duncan, New Orleans Times-Picayune. The Saints would like to trade down with this pick because they think it's a 13-15 player draft. But if they get stuck, they'd go with a speedy safety even though they acquired Tebucky Jones. When you play Mike Vick twice a year, you need speed all over the place. **
- NEW ORLEANS _ Jerome McDougle, DE, Miami, selected by Jeff Duncan, New Orleans Times-Picayune.** The Saints would like to trade up (see above) to get a big DT and if you remember how Nicolas Luchey ran on them in the fourth quarter last year at Paul Brown Stadium, you know why. But they were only 27th against the pass, so they also need some pressure.
16. KANSAS CITY _ Chris Kelsay, DE, Nebraska, selected by Adam Teicher, Kansas City Star. The Chiefs went 8-8 despite scoring 467 points. They want to trade down, but where ever they go they have to improve the next-to-worst pass defense in the league.
15. SAN DIEGO _ William Joseph, DT, Miami, selected by Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com. The usually proud Chargers' rush defense fell all the way to No. 11 and DT Jamal Williams is coming back from injury. Another 8-8 team that might be something special with moves on defense, where they finished third-worst in the NFL.
14. NEW ENGLAND _ Kwame Harris, T, Stanford, selected by Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe. The Patriots have to trade up if they want to get Sullivan or Robertson, so if they stick, they go to the offensive line. They'd like to move Matt Light to right tackle. **
- CHICAGO _ Jonathan Sullivan, DT, Georgia, selected by John Mullin, Chicago Tribune.** You've got to figure that even though the Bears traded out of a chance to take Robertson at No. 4, they'll still go D-line here. Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo has taken a defensive or offensive lineman in the first round in eight of his last 11 drafts.
12. ST. LOUIS _ Boss Bailey, OLB, Georgia, selected by Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The starting three linebackers for the Rams combined for no sacks and no interceptions last season. **
- SEATTLE _ Kevin Williams, DE-DT, selected by Mike Sando, Tacoma News Tribune.** The Seahawks need a rush with just 28 sacks last season.
10. BALTIMORE _ Jimmy Kennedy, DT, Penn State, selected by Jamison Hensley, Baltimore Sun. The Ravens won't go for a quarterback at this spot, but they may try to trade up to get Byron Leftwich or trade back for Boller. **
- CAROLINA _ Jordan Gross, OT, Utah, selected by Pat Yasinskas, Charlotte Observer. ** The Panthers gave up 44 sacks last season, sixth most in the NFL last season.
8. JACKSONVILLE _ Byron Leftwich, QB, Marshall, selected by Vito Stellino, Florida Times-Union. New Jags personnel chief James Harris looking in a mirror from 30 years ago. A big, strong-armed passer who can lead. Mark Brunell not running around like the Brunell of young. **
- MINNESOTA _ Marcus Trufant, CB, Washington State, selected by Bill Williamson, St. Paul Pioneer Press.The Vikings lost Tory James to the Bengals in free agency and they are looking to upgrade a secondary that allowed the fourth most passing yards in the NFL last season.
ARIZONA _ Terrell Suggs, DE, Arizona State, selected by Kent Somers, Arizona Republic.** Suggs had two bad workouts, but he is still a hometown fit for a team that has just 40 sacks the past two seasons.
5. DALLAS _ Terence Newman, CB, Kansas State, selected by Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News. Probably the best player on the board and someone is probably going to trade up to get him.
4. JETS _ Dewayne Robertson, DT, Kentucky, selected by Rich Cimini, New York Daily News. The Jets trade up from Nos. 13 and 22 to get the best defensive lineman on the board instead of waiting to see what falls out of the top ten. **
- HOUSTON _ Andre Johnson, WR, Miami, selected by John McClain, Houston Chronicle.They gave David Carr a lot of money last year and now they're getting someone he can throw it to.
- DETROIT _ Charlie Rogers, WR, Michigan State, selected by Mike O'Hara, Detroit News.** Same thinking. Joey Harrington, last year's No. 3 pick, needs some weapons.
1. CINCINNATI _ Carson Palmer, QB, USC, signed by Bengals 44 hours before Saturday's noon selection.