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The NFL Draft Class that Almost Wasn't

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Oct 14, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tackle Andre Smith (71) before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

The Bengals were able to eliminate a massive hole on their offensive line during the draft after they re-signed Andre Smith to a 3-year deal, and it came just in the nick of time. After a lengthy series of offseason negotiations yielded no deal between Smith and Cincinnati, it looked as though the Pro Bowl right tackle was set to depart, leaving the Bengals to draft his replacement,

As it turned out, offensive line coach Paul Alexander revealed that tackle was indeed an immediate need for the Bengals had Smith not re-signed, and it was in the form of Florida State’s Menelik Watson.

That means the Bengals would have either taken him in Round 1 and missed out on Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert, or Round 2 and missed out on North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard. Not only that, but they would have an unproven Watson replacing a Pro Bowler in Smith.

So, while the best two players that the Bengals were able to land in this class are Bernard and Eifert, you can see just how easily they came to not getting one or both of said players.

 

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