17 DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw Alabama Sr. 6-2 265
(Should pick: Courtney Upshaw). Good move by the Bengals -- instead of holding their defensive line together with spare parts, they're giving defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer a true three-down end who not only rushed the passer in college but also dropped into coverage effectively. If he's still on the board when Cincinnati picks, the choice won't be hard.
21 CB Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama Jr. 6-3 192
(Should pick: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU). Cincinnati has but one good cover corner, Leon Hall, so Kirkpatrick makes sense here. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Bengals follow the advice of trusted front-office aide John Cooper, the former Ohio State coach, and grab a Big Ten offensive lineman here, but the better pick in my view would be another reinforcement for the defensive line.
Kiper's best possible picks
Top needs: RG, WR, CB, DE, SS, RB
Rd 1 (17) CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
Rd 1 (21) G David DeCastro, Stanford
Rd 2 (53) CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech
Rd 3 (83) G Tony Bergstrom, Utah
Analysis: A good session of checking off top needs. Gilmore is a big, physical corner who comes in ready to play. I'm thrilled if I'm Cincy and he's still sitting there at No. 17; he's a smart kid who will pick things up and can contribute to a team looking to take the next step in the playoffs. DeCastro is a big-time prospect at guard, and the Bengals can draft him and assume improvement in the run game, where they really struggled in 2011. He may be the best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson, and guard is a big need for them. Hosley provides more depth at corner. He has the instincts of a Round 1 pick and can be a playmaker but doesn't have the size to get the elite tag on most boards. Bergstrom can play early if needed, but is good insurance.