Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bengals Draft V2.0

The NFL Combine is over, free agency is moving slower than a fat kid in a wind tunnel, and the draft is about a month away. Time to think a little more intently on what the Bengals should do starting April 25th.

I know I have prefaced this before, but I feel I should go over it again. I say SHOULD because this is what I think they should do, and in no way am I an expert, although I honestly feel that I could run this team better than Mike Brown. Plus the Bengals have a nack for surprising everyone and taking players that have no business going where they drafted them. For example, last year in the second round of the draft, since they didn't get Sedrick Ellis in the first round like they wanted I thought for sure they were going to grab one in the second round. To Quote Lex Luthor in Superman Returns, "WRONGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG." They drafted a project Wide Receiver! Mind boggling!

So what needs have already been addressed in free agency?
  • Offensive line? Negative. Jason Brown was there for the taking. A center that is only 27 and played in the AFC North with Baltimore, can you say a perfect fit? Instead the Bengals let St. Louis signs him with no competition at all. That might have been the biggest failure of the off season for the Bengals. They did not re-sign Stacey Andrews to help out at tackle. Not shocking since Stacey has been trying to get out of here since he got here to play with his brother in Philly. I am OK with this IF the Bengals draft a tackle in the first round like they should.
  • Running back? 1/2. They did resign Cedric Benson, which I thought was the best move they could have made in free agency, but they will still need to draft a running back at some point. The good news is that they can wait to draft one instead of taking one in the first two rounds. Sadly I can still see Mike Brown wanting that shiny new toy and taking Chris Wells in the first round which would be dumber than Fox cancelling Family Guy.
  • Safety? Check. Dexter "silly" Jackson is gone and Chris Crocker was resigned. A good move, you keep the attitude and you get younger and healthier. I know Roy Williams is on his way for a visit and I am not against it if you can get him for a price, but we have other needs that would justify spending the money he may command.
  • Quarterback? Check. J.T. O'Sullivan is no better or worse than Ryan Fitzpatrick, it is an interchangeable part provided Palmer is healthy this year. Of course upgrading that line might go a long way to ensuring that 'Ol J.T. remains on the side lines where he belongs.
  • Wide Receiver? Undecided. Am I sad that T.J. is gone? Yes. He played with a passion and fire that is rarely seen, he was easily the most reliable receiver we had, but he did not want to be here either. I want players to want to be here, if you don't then I know they will not be giving 100% on the field. So we replace him with Laverneaus Coles. Same age really, possibly faster, but more like Chad than T.J. We need a tough possession receiver, not another aging speedster. I will try to reserve judgement, since I know Cauldwell and Simpson aren't ready and we know Marvin doesn't even want Chris Henry on the team, but I would think that with the money we gave Coles it could have been better spent elsewhere. See my point about the offensive line.
  • Fullback? Negative. If I have to watch Dan "The Statue" Coats miss another block again this year, or miss another hole that he was supposed to plow through for Benson, I think I will freaking lose it. I know we had some visits from fullbacks, but still none signed.
So there is what the Bengals have done in free agency. I give them a solid C. Still quite a few holes to fill in the draft, looking at another .500 year I think. So, for my draft analysis I have listed 5 player per round that I think will be there for the Bengals to draft. Also depending on what they take in each round will determine what position/hole they should fill in the next round. They will be getting compensation picks for Justin Smith and Madiu Williams, I am just not sure where they will be, so I am not accounting for those.

Round One:
  1. Jason Smith OT Baylor
  2. Eugene Monroe OT Virgina
  3. Michael Oher OT Ole Miss
  4. Brian Orakpo DE Texas
  5. B.J. Raji DT Boston College
  6. Everette Brown DE Florida State
Hmmmmmm, does anyone see a trend here? All players are linemen on offense or defense! The Bengals were HORRIBLE in the trenches last year, which was the biggest contributing factor with going 4-11-1. In 2005, you know when they made the playoffs, they only allowed 8 sacks all year, they did that in 2 1/2 games this past year. The Bengals need to get more pressure on the quarterback, I have been saying this for years, I hope they finally listen!

Round Two:
  1. Evnader Hood DT Missouri
  2. Clint Sintim DE Virgina
  3. Paul Kruger DE Utah
  4. James Laurinaitis LB OSU
  5. Max Unger C/G Oregon
I am assuming that the Bengals are smart enough to grab one of the top three tackles, since it is a NEED and all of them are ready to step in and play. So, assuming Mike Brown isn't running the team and they make the smart move and get offensive line they should do the smart thing again and draft defensive line in the second round. Possible exceptions include The Animals son since Dahani isn't getting any younger and James has the talent and fire. Max Unger might be a reach, but center is another gaping hole that will have to be addressed.

Round Three:
  1. Eric Wood C Lousiville
  2. Jonathan Lugis C Arkansas
  3. Donald Brown RB UConn
  4. Herman Johnson G LSU
  5. Rashad Jennings RB Liberty
Pretty simple in this round, trying to account for what the Bengals might have done by telling you what I would have done. If they take OT and then DE/DT then you HAVE to address C in this round or all the good ones will be gone, and after three years of Guichuc, we need a good one. But another possibility would be running back, since Benson will be gone in two years and the cupboard is bare otherwise.

Round Four:
  1. Antoine Caldwell C Alabama
  2. Scott McKillop LP Pitt
  3. Phillip Hunt DE Houston
  4. Andre Brown RB N.C. State
  5. Cedric Peerman RB Virgina
A little bit of everything as far as options this round. Again trying to make sure that they cover their NEEDS first. In case they still don't have a center, I think that Antoine might be the last NFL ready center available and had better grab him. Again Dahani is not getting any younger and it might be time to draft his replacement with McKillop. Hunt is good value in the fourth round, I would have him rated higher if his first name was Mike. Of course if that was his first name, I know what my next jersey would be! Brown and Peerman are about the last two running backs that I feel pretty good about.

Round Five:
  1. Javon Ringer RB Michigan State
  2. James Davis RB Clemson
  3. Brandon Williams DE Texas Tech
  4. Vance Walker DT Georgia Tech
  5. Domonique Johnson CB Jackson State
The last two running backs that I am even luke warm about. If they have not drafted a running back by now, better luck next year. More defensive line depth. Might also look for some offensive line depth here as well, possibly a project tackle like they had with Stacey Andrews a few years ago. Decent corner with good size and can run fast. Possible return guy and third corner, which we need judging on David Jones performance last year.

Round Six:
  1. Branna Southerland FB Georgia
  2. Jasper Brinkly LB South Carolina
  3. Kevin Barnes CB Maryland
  4. Brandon Hughes CB Oregon State
  5. Bruce Johnson CB Miami
Again a third corner needs to be addressed and I tired to incorporate guys that would also serve as decent return guys, since we just lost Glen Holt to the Vikings. Plus when was the last time anyone was worried about the Bengals returning a touchdown on a kickoff? We need that threat! I also mixed in a fullback which is desperately needed according to me, please see the fullback section above in case you forgot. Also threw in a linebacker that might slip because he was hurt part of last year and would be good value here. A bit of a risk, but might be worth it for the reward.

Round Seven:
  1. Tony Fiammetta FB Syracuse
  2. Colt David K LSU
  3. Kevin Huber P Cincinnati
  4. Tim Masthay P Kentucky
  5. Pat McAfee K West Virgina
Threw in another fullback that can block for good measure, because lets face it in Bob Bratkowski's VERY complicated offense that is all the fullback is going to do is block. And finally some kickers and punters. Larson has gotten worse every year and needs to be pushed or released. I did not like that they tagged Shayne Graham, but since they did it is time to find his replacement so that they are not tempted to make that mistake again.

Let me repeat, this is what I think the Bengals should be looking at, well this and more. Hell I am only one man the Bengals have twice as many scouts, almost literally! So here it is in a nutshell for the Bengals '09 draft needs. Would not mind them focusing on a return specialist later in the draft either, but that is if they have already filled all NEEDS. I love Connor Barwin out of UC too, but not sure he will be available when the Bengals are drafting.

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