What mock next?


UC's Connor Barwin (AP Images)

Posted: 2:50 p.m.

No matter what the Bengals may end up with in the first round Saturday (a falling Michael Crabtree, a young Andre Smith, a vindicated B.J. Raji), there are still going to be a slew of needs and only one name to help address them with the 38th pick in the second round.

But the names available are just as intriguing as they are in the first round if you look at how the beat reporters are mocking things:

There is the hometown flavor with Ohio State middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, University of Cincinnati defensive end Connor Barwin, and Louisville center Eric Wood via Elder High School.

There is a group of players the Bengals coached in the Senior Bowl with Oregon center Max Unger, Missouri defensive end Ziggy Hood, and Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiske.

There is also a name that conjures up the angst and ecstasy of Bengals second-round Pro Bowlers past in troubled Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin.

Here is how we got to these names:

Using a mock first round The Sporting News culled from reporters for each team earlier in the week, we went in search of the first five picks in the second round:

33. LIONS: S Patrick Chung, Oregon; Mike O'Hara, recently retired from the Detroit News

Detroit needs all the help it can get on any level of defense.

34. PATRIOTS: OLB Larry English, Northern Illinois; Christopher Gasper, The Boston Globe

With Mike Vrabel gone and New England already taking Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith in the first round, the Pats need to fortify a pass rush that was only rated 14th last year with Vrabel. Barwin, Vrabel's long-lost NFL uncle when it comes to comparisons, is also a fit here.

35. RAMS: CB Darius Butler, UConn; Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Tye Hill, a No. 1 corner from a few years ago, has struggled desperately the past two years and the Rams need reinforcements.

36. BROWNS: C Alex Mack, Cal; Tony Grossi, Cleveland Plain-Dealer

Mack is another guy the Bengals coached in the Senior Bowl and fits into new Browns head coach Eric Mangini's desire to get more physical up front. Mangini apparently sees the current Browns line as a finesse group and he's going to start recrafting with a big, tough, smart center. It also may mean athletic guys like left guard Eric Steinbach won't soon be a fit in Cleveland.

37. SEAHAWKS: CB Sean Smith, Utah; Danny O'Neil, Seattle Times

In the Larry Fitzgerald Division, Seattle feels it needs bigger cover people than the 5-10 Marcus Trufant, so the 6-3 Smith is a pretty good answer. If he's gone, the Seahawks could eye Pittsburgh running back LeSean McCoy.

So will the Bengals given the need in the backfield, but Joe Reedy, the Cincinnati Enquirer's beat man, sees the Bengals settling on Wood and going for the back with one of their two third-round picks.

Center is a need, but there have been enticing names like Harvin on the draft board in the past that have sent the bengals scrambling for first-round talent with second-round nicks.

Repeat after me. Carl Pickens. Corey Dillon. Chad Ochocinco. Throw in Darnay Scott and Odell Thurman for good measure and while all these guys litter the Bengals record book, they also came with a variety of problems that were later felt while they were here.

Were they worth it?

Hey, this is a Mock Draft, not Philosophy 101.

"Harvin is certainly a talent. Probably the best player available at that point," says Jerry Jones, the former Bengals draft room insider who publishes the draft survey The Drugstore List. "He's really, really fast."

Try 4.39 fast, a true game-changer. But Harvin also reportedly tested positive for marijuana at the NFL scouting combine, the biggest red flag of all.

"I don't see them doing that. Not with his injury issues plus the character stuff," Reedy says. "This is where the run on center is about to start and this is one of their big needs. But another interesting thing is if Harvin is falling like that, they may get a call from the Bears (at 49) to move up and get another pick."

So maybe the Bengals don't get the center at No. 2, but Alabama's Antoine Caldwell figures to be around at the top of three. Everyone loves Barwin, but Jones is also leaning more toward a center, only his choice is Unger.

"He can play all three spots," Jones says. "You love Barwin and he really hits the Bengals in two spots. They need a tight end and a pass rusher. But I'm not sure the value is right there for him. This is about where he goes; Nos. 30-50. But he's a tweener and we know what has happened here with tweener pass rushers."

Still, the Bengals are going to line up five centers this spring. Not only is McCoy there, but so is Iowa's Shonn Greene, although he's in the second round because of a 4.6 40-yard dash and a one-year wonder tag.

"I think there are guys there that are going to give them a lot to talk about," Reedy says.

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