Ox Posted February 6, 2009 Report Share Posted February 6, 2009 Bengals’ draft should focus on linemenSabel's HausGarrett Sabelhaus | The News RecordUpdated: Sunday, February 1, 2009“With the third pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select Akili Smith from Oregon.”Those words are scarred into the memory of all Bengals fans and are just one of the many draft blunders from the Cincinnati front office, aka Mike Brown.Smith was thought to be the future quarterback of the Bengals but instead is probably playing in some league overseas as a third stringer.Maybe it wasn’t all Smith’s fault though. He did have to come to Cincinnati.That year the Bengals passed on All-Pro players like Edgerrin James, Torry Holt and Champ Bailey, as well as Mike Ditka’s offer to trade all of the Saints’ draft picks for Cincinnati’s first round pick.The question arises every year around this time. Who should the Bengals should draft and what position needs to be filled the most? Who will be Mike Brown’s cure all for the 2009 season?Truth is, there is no cure all.Cincinnati needs to start building its lines first and worry about skill positions in later rounds.This year the overall consensus seems to be there is a need for an offensive lineman, someone who can help protect Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer and anchor an offensive line that gave up 51 sacks last season, the third most in the NFL.With the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft, the Bengals should be hoping that the 6-foot-4-inch, 340-pound University of Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith falls into their lap. Smith can take over for Levi Jones, who barely made it through the 2008 season, and can protect Palmer’s blind side.If Smith is taken before the Bengals pick, then there are a few other offensive linemen who would suffice. The University of Virginia’s Eugene Monroe or the University of Mississippi’s Michael Oher are the other top offensive line candidates.I can’t justify the Bengals going after a player other than an offensive lineman even though linebackers like Aaron Curry and Rey Maualuga should still be available.Besides, Keith Rivers’ face should be put back together by next season and he could make a big impact on the defense with some line help. Plus, I just saw Odell Thurman’s resume on careerbuilder.com.In the second round, the Bengals need to think defense, and they don’t have to look any further than their own backyard.University of Cincinnati defensive back Mike Mickens or defensive end Connor Barwin would be a perfect fit for the Bengals, who need help at both positions.The Bengals staff already had a good look at Barwin during the Senior Bowl, and the former tight end turned defensive end should raise his stock at the NFL combine.Most mock drafts project Mickens as a late first round or early second round pick, so he may be gone by the time the Bengals make their second pick at 38th overall. Besides, the Bengals need defensive line help more.Other than Barwin, defensive end Sen’Derrick Marks from Auburn University should be available for the Bengals second pick.The junior recorded 32 tackles and two sacks last season and won the Eddie Welch Award from his coaches for attitude and effort prior to the 2008 season, something the Bengals could use a lot of.The third round is where I throw in a little bit of a sleeper pick. I think the Bengals should take a running back to compliment Cedric Benson in the backfield, but only if the right choice is available.If Donald Brown is still on the board by the third round then take him. The former University of Connecticut running back gashed the Bearcats last season for 150 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns as a junior.In case they can’t get Brown, then look for the Bengals to look for a running back in a later round. They should also look to snag a linebacker, a wide receiver and a defensive back on day two.If the draft does turn out to be a bust, then draft watchers should look forward to one certainty: This should be the year that draft guru’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay start a brawl on the set of ESPN.http://www.newsrecord.org/sections/sports/...nemen-1.1320488 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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