In our annual 32 picks in 32 days CSNPhilly.com mock draft, we select one player each day until the start of the NFL draft on April 26.
21. Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor, 5-10196
Four picks ago, I selected CB Dre Kirkpatrick (see story) with the first of Cincinnati's two first-round picks. The next day the team actually signed free-agent corner Terence Newman, formerly of Dallas. By no means do I believe the Bengals off-season moves to this point have completely settled their needs in the secondary, but the veteran players theyve brought in certainly could alleviate the need to use either of their first-round choices on a cornerback.
With the 21st pick, Im giving quarterback Andy Dalton another big-play receiver in Kendall Wright. If he develops quickly, the Cincinnati passing offense would become elite in a hurry. As rookies in 2011, Dalton and AJ Green proved to be a dangerous combination. Imagine the production of the passing game with a speedy, elusive target lined up alongside them.
Wright crafted a prolific career as a four-year starter at Baylor. He holds the school record in receptions (302), and as a senior he hauled in 108 balls for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdown catches. Hes quick, fast and shows a knack for separating from defenders. On tape, I saw him shake defenders and run past corners and safeties routinely. His deep game was helped by having a mobile QB in Robert Griffin III.
Even though Wright is not a big receiver (5-10196) he can be physical and will fight for the ball.
Some receivers run fast in shirts and shorts, but are ordinary in competition. Wrights speed is an asset in both cases. Even after he ran in the 4.6 range at the combine, I was not worried because he plays fast in pads, and thats my bottom line. Later, at Baylors Pro Day he ran 4.4, and put to rest talk that his draft stock would suffer. Numbers aside, this guy is a playmaker, and adding him to the Bengals offense would (in time) create matchup nightmares. Like every wide receiver entering the NFL, Wright needs to get better at running routes. If he learns the nuances of the position in short order, he could develop into the all-around receiver the team needs to become top-shelf.
The Bengals also need help on the interior of the offensive line. A player such as Georgia guard Cordy Glenn might get a long look at either seventeen or twenty-one. But I believe a skilled guard can be found later. The opportunity to draft a receiver that fills a need while also bringing another young big-play component to the equation may be too appealing to turn down.
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