With the NFL Draft a little more than a month away, the Cincinnati Bengals brass is deciding who they will select with their nine picks throughout the weekend of May eighth through the tenth.
Draft experts like ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay differ on what position the Bengals should address with their first round selection. Kiper says the Bengals will go with a linebacker, while McShay thinks Cincinnati will go for a cornerback. Places like Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, and Fox Sports fall into the category of taking a cornerback, while Rob Rang from CBS Sports, DraftTek, and Cincy Jungle have the 2013 AFC North champions selecting a linebacker.
Either way it is sliced, the experts, whether paid or pretending, feel Cincinnati needs to sure up its defense with young talent to replace current veterans like cornerback Terence Newman or cut contributors like linebacker James Harrison.
An area the Bengals could go in the first round is wide receiver. It isn’t that bad of a proposition. Receiver Mohamed Sanu, a third round pick in 2012, started 14 games in 2013 for Cincinnati and logged 47 catches for 455 yards and two touchdowns. While star receiver A.J. Green will certainly get his catches and get his “thousand,” it is when he isn’t open that the other receiving options need to be top notch. Just imagine how explosive the Bengals offense would be if they landed a speedster like LSU’s Odell Beckham, Jr. or another tall, big target like Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews. Maybe not in 2014, but in the years to come, Andy Dalton could break the 5,000-yard passing mark.
Since 2010, the Bengals have been solid on their first round selections. The only dubious distinction would be tight end Jermaine Gresham. After all, if he were so good, why would the Bengals need to select another first round tight end in Tyler Eifert as they did in last year’s draft?
One thing is for certain. In 2014, Cincinnati will not select redundantly. They will select a contributor with their first selection.