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Watching the early run on cornerbacks with LSU's Morris Claiborne (selected by the Cowboys at No. 6) and South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore (selected by the Buffalo Bills at No. 10) removed from the team's board early during the first round, Cincinnati addressed their first need of the evening selecting Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick at No. 17.
Considering that the team pieced together an aging group of cornerbacks to strengthen depth during free agency, Kirkpatrick offers the team an option as a starter -- especially with Leon Hall rehabilitating from an Achilles injury. It was an expected selection, one that was projected through many concluding mock drafts this week.
Yet that's not the selection that most will hover around the water cooler Friday morning. Even with Stanford guard David DeCastro being available, the Cincinnati Bengals swapped first-round picks with the New England Patriots, pushing their second first-round pick from No. 21 to No. 27. And before that selection could be made, the Pittsburgh Steelers grabbed DeCastro at No. 24.
But that wasn't necessarily the Bengals target at guard, was it? After falling back six spots in the first round, the Bengals selected Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler, who offensive line coach Paul Alexander admitted will be the primary right guard, as well as a backup center.
How does this affect the draft on Friday, when the second and third rounds begin? We figure it will shift Cincinnati's focus to wide receiver, running back and perhaps a defensive player, anywhere from the defensive line, linebackers and the secondary.