Bengals Will Wait to See Who is There – Cincinnati Holds Pick Twenty-One
With winning comes waiting. Many organizations are perfectly used to waiting to the end of the draft line to make a selection in the NFL Draft. Sadly, the Bengals are more familiar with being the team that gets tons of ink as everyone and his brother fills millions of characters in cyberspace and hours of camera time on sports commentary television trying to predict which team picks any given player. A division win and an all too short playoff run of one game at home produces a draft pick in the bottom third of the order for the “All New and Improved” draft in prime time.
The team has a few glaring needs and several other position groups that are in need of an upgrade or some added depth that will produce competition for positions in training camp and legitimate replacements in case of injury. The squad could certainly stand some depth at Safety as it’s been a case of “up and down” as young players have shown promise and Roy Williams suffered a season ending injury last season. Taylor Mays out of USC would satisfy Carson Palmer and other Trojans on the roster for more reasons than one. Earl Thomas out of Texas would be a strong choice here as well. Sitting at number twenty-one means being very patient and fluid in thought as a guy you want may be gone but a guy that you never thought would fall ends up being there and he’s a “can’t pass him up” type player as the team enjoyed several times last year. The team has been known to draft the famous “best player available” and that trend should not be forgotten as well. Fans have long clamored for a solid tight end that can block effectively and catch passes so Carson Palmer can enjoy a reliable outlet receiver when the defense takes away his down the field threats. Along with those, a powerful pass rusher to go along with the stout corners who have emerged as an outstanding tandem. Later in the draft, choosing a place kicker to take over for last year’s “Franchise Player” Shayne Graham is certainly possible, Leigh Tiffan from Alabama grades out as the best available here.
If wide receiver Dez Brant is there for the taking, the discussion in the Cincinnati “War Room” could become very tense. He’s got a ton of talent but off the field issues could result in other teams not wanting to take a chance. Bengals’ owner and general manager Mike Brown is world famous for considering himself a “redeemer” who enjoys giving people second chances. That strategy has had mixed results over the years. Another possibility would be Golden Tate out of Notre Dame if he’s there and they feel getting a deep threat who can stretch the field falls first in line on the list of team needs. Many local fans would love to see University of Cincinnati standout Mardy Gilyard join the men in stripes, they even have a website devoted to the drafting of the versatile wide out who can also return kicks and provide a long needed “spark” on special teams. He’s projected by most to be there in the second round when Cincy goes on the clock. Newly signed Matt Jones and Antonio Bryant point to an upgrade at the position, and don’t forget about that little visit to town by “T.O.”
The Bengals as an organization have often lacked a tight end that can block well consistently and catch the ball when it’s thrown to him. Last year it seemed that if a player played tight end for the Bengals, they were going to get hurt. From concussions, Achilless tendon tears and broken feet the position group lost 38 man games. J.P. Foschi did a commendable job and we’d like to see him return, he has yet to be tendered an offer to play in stripes for 2010. In recent years Reggie Kelly has been a solid locker room presence and satisfactory in all areas. Hoping to upgrade the Bengals could take Jermaine Gresham out of Oklahoma who is the consensus top choice available this year at the position. Gresham is a very good option to throw to while a solid blocker, he has room to improve and is coming off of a season ending knee injury which claimed his entire 2009 campaign. If the knee is healthy he’s a solid choice. Others to consider would be Rob Gronkowski out of Arizona who is well rounded but coming off of a back injury.
Seeing that the chances of trading up to get ultra impressive Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh are just about the same as winning two multi-state lotteries in the same week, filling the need there the home team could be South Florida’s Jason Pierre-Paul who has a very high motor, outstanding work ethic and would be a perfect compliment to Mike Zimmer’s very impressive defense.
The Bengals pounded the ball on the ground with Cedric Benson and company but when it came to protecting Carson Palmer and allowing him time to find receivers the offensive line was inconsistent at best. Shelley Smith out of Colorado State would be a nice pickup to lead the way into the future. The jury is still out on last year’s first choice as Andre Smith held out, signed and showed up out of shape and proceeded to break his foot in the second practice. By the time he recovered and was able to play, his development was stunted. Hopefully he comes into form and proves to be a solid choice to provide stability for years to come.
Every year the fans of the Bengals find a zoo’s worth of butterflies in the stomach as the team approaches each pick. Last year’s draft was very solid in many areas but the final verdict is unclear as several of the picks were injured which disallowed a complete evaluation. The year we hope to fill in some gaps and boost other positions with solid players who can help Cincinnati plow through a very daunting schedule.
About the Author
Written by Daryl Miller
I'm a lifelong sports fan. From short track auto racing, hockey, baseball, football and everything else...I love it.