With the 17th pick of Pride of Detroit's 2-012 NFL mock draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. NorthLeft12 is serving as the Bengals' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
The 2012 draft is a great opportunity for the Cincinnati Bengals to build on the success they achieved in 2011 when they surprised everyone and went 9-7 and made the playoffs as a wild card. They have a great young core on both offense and defense but still are very thin and have large holes in their roster. They are in the second toughest division in football and must continue to improve if they hope to make the playoffs in 2012.
Kirkpatrick is a big cornerback (6'2" and 190 pounds) who is widely conceded to be the best tackling CB in the draft class. He is an extremely physical corner with 4.45 speed in the 40. He can match up with any big WR and is great at supporting the run defense. There has been some talk about moving him to safety because of these skills, but I am drafting him to be a CB. The Bengals lost Leon Hall to an ACL tear and may not have him back until next year. They did pick up Jason Allen in free agency to bolster their secondary, but Kirkpatrick is a welcome addition of youth, size and skill. He is the best player on the board who fills an important need of the Bengals.
Check out the 2012 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.