In 2013, the Cincinnati Bengals not only shocked themselves, but everyone else, taking Tyler Eifert with their first round pick. Eifert added to the passing game and became an immediate threat, and ultimately assisted quarterback Andy Dalton to having 33 touchdowns and nearly 4,300 yards passing. Shocked themselves, because no one thought Eifert would be available that late in the first round, and although tight end was not an immediate need, the Bengals had no problem pulling the trigger on the best player available. Fast forward to 2014, and could the same scenario happen?
Forget about top round talent like Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end from South Carolina, or Kahlil Mack, linebacker from Buffalo. Those guys will be long gone by the time the Bengals pick at 24. Instead, look at some of the players who might have questions, like Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback from Louisville, or Bradley Roby , defensive back from Ohio State. Bridgewater underperformed at his pro day, and is said to have small hands, whereas Roby was arrested for OVI on April 20th, just 3 weeks before the draft.
If both of these players are available at 24, when the Bengals pick, whom will they select? Cornerback is an immediate need with Leon Hall coming back from injury, Terrence Newman at 36 years old, and Dre Kirkpatrick not living up to his first round selection in 2012. Quarterback could also be an immediate need especially if one falls to the Bengals, because Andy Dalton and the Bengals seem miles apart on a long term deal.
Remember, the draft is about the future, and without a quarterback, the future is very bleak. With all of this said, if Bridgewater is still there at 24, and Roby, or another cornerback, aren’t there, don’t be surprised if the Bengals try and trade out of that 24th pick and load up on 2nd round picks. They could trade that pick with another team who has already picked in the top ten who still needs a quarterback. Draft day deals have been made, and this would not surprise anyone.
Okay, so who do they really take at 24? Guessing here, but cornerback seems like the most obvious and best choice around. A good secondary forces the quarterback to hold onto the football a second longer and allows the defensive front to close in. Winning football games can be as simple as putting the ball in the end zone and putting the other quarterback on their butt. Andy Dalton is good enough at the first part to keep his starting gig, and ward off any first round picks at quarterback, while the Bengals secondary could always use help with the second part. Let the fun of the draft begin.