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Friday, April 28, 2006

Cincinnati Bengals NFL Draft Preview

Cincinnati Bengals - Draft Needs
The Bengals are in a slightly odd position, for the first time in years they don't have bunches of holes to fill on both sides of the ball. For Cincinnati, this draft is going to be about drafting depth in the secondary, both the O and D-lines, and finding a pass-catching TE. The good news for Cincinnati is this year's draft is very deep in DBs and TEs. Onto the scenarios...

Scenario 1: The Defensive Back
This is the most likely scenario, even though every caller on the SportsTalk radio stations think that the Bengals should draft a pass-catching TE in the first round, there's something important to remember here. The Bengals had one of the best offenses in the NFL last season. Adding a solid TE, while important, probably shouldn't head the Bengals "Things to Do" list.

I say that Marvin Lewis & Company wait patiently in their #24 slot. Looking to add depth to an aging, mediocre secondary, when time comes for the Bengals to pick they go with the best defensive back still on the board. Someone who can serve as a decent Nickel or Dime back, and bring something to Special Teams would be paramount here. The Bengals could be able to choose who they prefer out of a group of CB Antonio Cromartie, CB Jimmy Williams, and S Donte Whitner.

Scenario 2: The Offensive Explosion
Will there be enough balls to go around with Rudi Johnson, Chad Johnson, TJ Houshmandzadeh, and a pass-catching TE? This scenario sees the Bengals farther strenghten their offense by adding a TE with the 24 pick. If Cincinnati is intent on selecting a TE it would make sense to trade down, as all of the TEs not named Vernon Davis are rough around the edges this year, and Davis is really the only true first-round talent in at TE in this draft.

However, the Bungles of old wouldn't worry about value at their draft slot, and you should never forget your roots. This scenario would see the Bengals select their preference of TE out of Leonard Pope, Marcedes Lewis, or Anthony Fasano.

Scenario 3: The Trade Down
It wouldn't be surprising at all to see the Bengals try to move this selection. It would make a lot of sense for Cincinnati to drop down to the middle of the second round if they could add another middle round pick. This would save salary as they wouldn't have to pay first-round money to any draftees, and as mentioned this draft is very deep in D-Backs and Tight Ends, which are two positions that the Bengals will definitely be looking at. It would make a lot of sense for Cincinnati to trade out of the 24 spot, but of course there would have to be a team that wanted to trade up.

Really, I expect to see the Bengals trade down from their 24 pick if at all possible. It can only help if someone talented (Jay Cutler maybe) starts sliding and teams start to look at moving up to get a guy. If the Bengals keep their pick I would bet that they'll spurn the radio callers and take a DB rather than a TE.


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