CINCINNATI -- In years past, NFL reporters like myself would be spending this Monday wrapping up draft coverage and preparing for a possible rookie minicamp this coming weekend.
But not in 2014. This is the year of the May draft. It could be the first of many.
We hope not.
ESPN's NFL Nation reporters had a chance last week to chat with ESPN draft insider Todd McShay as we continue our coverage leading up to this later-than-usual draft. Unfortunately, we ran out of time before I could sneak in a Bengals question or two to McShay, but thankfully my colleague Eric Williams covers a team with similar draft needs and a pick in a similar spot in the first round.
The San Diego Chargers own this year's 25th pick; one place behind the Bengals at No. 24.
Eric's question about breaking down cornerbacks who could be available late in the first round wasn't far off from the one I had in mind. So, with Eric's blessing, we're using McShay's comments here. If you're so inclined to see where things stand with the Chargers and their cornerback concerns, you can read Eric's post from Friday.
As for what McShay had to say about Jason Verrett (TCU), Bradley Roby (Ohio State) and Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech), read on. These are the most likely cornerback options the Bengals will see when they make their pick. None of these four is expected to be around when the Bengals make their second-round pick at No. 55. Most mock drafts this offseason have had the Bengals taking a cornerback in Round 1.
McShay on Fuller: "Kyle Fuller is probably the best route [technically for the Chargers at 25, but this could apply to the Bengals at 24 just as easily] because he's a complete player. He's versatile in that he can play man and he can play zone. He can get physical with receivers."
McShay on Verrett: "He's one of my favorite players in the draft. But he's 5-9 1/2 and 189 pounds. He's got the 4.38 speed [in the 40-yard dash] and he's as tough as nails. He'll knock you out like he knocked out [Texas Tech tight end] Jace Amaro, and he can mirror against the most explosive receivers like he did against LSU's Odell Beckham. But he's still 5-9 1/2 and 189 pounds. And he's got 30 5/8-inch arms. So, to me, he's probably, at least early in his career, a slot-cover corner that can maybe earn his way to the perimeter."
McShay on Roby (who was charged last week in Columbus, Ohio, for operating a vehicle while impaired. He's since denied on social media accusations he was drunk and driving, and made it clear he wasn't arrested): "I actually think he might be the most athletic corner in this draft. I just would be real nervous to pull the trigger on him because I just don't know what I'm getting. He's a young man that has some growing to do. He's got to become more focused, and there's just a lot of inconsistent tape on him. ... Now, he wasn't all that well coached. With the right coaching and teaching him how to use his eyes properly, I think he can improve. But then he's got to make the decision that he's going to work hard to become disciplined enough with his eyes, and to trust his eyes. So he's a wild card. He could be the best defensive back five years from now. Or he could wind up becoming another first-round cornerback that doesn't pan out in this league because he didn't do what he had to do mentally from a preparation standpoint. He's a classic boom or bust."
So with all of this in mind, who would you take, Bengals fans? Fuller, Verrett or Roby?