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.
- Jason Smith OT Baylor
- Eugene Monroe OT Virgina
- Michael Oher OT Ole Miss
- Brian Orakpo DE Texas
- B.J. Raji DT Boston College
- Everette Brown DE Florida State
- Evnader Hood DT Missouri
- Clint Sintim DE Virgina
- Paul Kruger DE Utah
- James Laurinaitis LB OSU
- Max Unger C/G Oregon
- Eric Wood C Lousiville
- Jonathan Lugis C Arkansas
- Donald Brown RB UConn
- Herman Johnson G LSU
- Rashad Jennings RB Liberty
- Antoine Caldwell C Alabama
- Scott McKillop LP Pitt
- Phillip Hunt DE Houston
- Andre Brown RB N.C. State
- Cedric Peerman RB Virgina
- Javon Ringer RB Michigan State
- James Davis RB Clemson
- Brandon Williams DE Texas Tech
- Vance Walker DT Georgia Tech
- Domonique Johnson CB Jackson State
- Branna Southerland FB Georgia
- Jasper Brinkly LB South Carolina
- Kevin Barnes CB Maryland
- Brandon Hughes CB Oregon State
- Bruce Johnson CB Miami
- Tony Fiammetta FB Syracuse
- Colt David K LSU
- Kevin Huber P Cincinnati
- Tim Masthay P Kentucky
- Pat McAfee K West Virgina
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.