This year, the first round pick of the Bengals is all but guaranteed to be the top cornerback on the board. The subsequent picks are consequents of free agent signings, and free agent signings will be the grounded on the potential of subsequent picks. The point is that choice and strategy with regards to player personnel decisions is finalizing it’s metamorphous from that of a builder to one of sustainment. These are fundamentally different perspectives, and like the fan base’s penchant to view Bengaldom as a perpetual dystopia, the old views of the front office must be able to evolve, or they will reap the stratagem that they employ.
How does this manifest? Consider the current critiques of Andy Dalton. If they turn out to hold weight with the front office insofar as it translates into finding his replacement, then resources can be re-allocated to make that move. Hypothetically this might happen at the expense of the few other needs such as signing Michael Johnson, or it may happen in spite of it. The multi-causal nature of the coming offseason will probably be as complex as any that Cincinnati has taken over the past decade. If successful, the likelihood of the Bengals pre-imminence for the next few years at least looks to be on an incredibly bright course.
So to recap, some things are not “an issue”. Last offseason’s woes about deficiencies at the linebackers and safeties are all but a memory after this year’s play, injuries notwithstanding. Same can be said of this talented receiving corps of wide outs and tight ends. However, the Bengals must get younger at cornerback, and the defensive front four have to be re-inspected for depth; two areas that were considered strengths coming into this season.