While most of us are expecting safety, tight end, guard and wide receiver to be among the positions the team looks at early in this year’s draft, Cincinnati has shown that it will always (a) stick to its draft board and (b) surprise us on draft day. That said, here are three positions the team could surprise and spend an early pick on:
Let’s say the second round rolls around and six receivers, five safeties and three tight ends are off the board, but somehow only five offensive tackles are gone. Where would you go with this pick? Look no further than 2006 for evidence of this position’s potential. The Bengals had Willie Anderson and Levi Jones established as their tackles when taking Andrew Whitworth in the second round out of LSU.
With the cutting of Mike Mickens to make room, expiring contracts of Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall, and Mike Zimmer saying he wants to upgrade the nickel corner position, signs point to the Bengals taking a cornerback in the draft’s first three or four rounds this year. A schedule boasting the re-vamped Ravens (x2), Patriots, Saints, Colts and Chargers also begs for attention to be paid to spread offenses.
Maybe I’m just praying Toby Gerhart falls to the third round comp and becomes a Bengal, but this situation reminds me a bit of 2004. Though Benson is a bit more proven than Rudi Johnson was at the time, the team had its bell cow and solid depth behind him (Kenny Watson then, Brian Leonard and Bernard Scott now). Benson, like Johnson, is entering a contract year and is another strong season from a really good pay day. This is the kind of insurance/bargaining tool we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from Mike Brown.