Rick Gosselin, the Dallas Morning News’ highly regarded NFL beat writer, has issued his first mock draft for 2009. His pick for the Bengals:
"6. Cincinnati Bengals:Jeremy Maclin, WR, MissouriBengals need WR/KR to replace T.J. Houshmandzadeh"
Maclin at six would certainly be an unexpected choice, and one that would likely be greeted with loud boos by Bengals fans. Not only did Cincinnati draft second- and third-round wideouts last year (Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell) and sign Laveraneus Coles after Housh left for Seattle, but in Gosselin’s mock, Eugene Monroe is still on the board when the Bengals go on the clock!
Gosselin hedges his bets a bit in a blog entry today:
"So the Bengals need to focus on offense and playmakers in the 2009 draft. A wide-receiver/kick returner combination would be ideal, and Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin fits that bill. He’s in range of Cincinnati’s first-round pick, No. 6 overall. But like last year, the offensive tackles will go fast in the first round and if the Bengals don’t take one at six, there might not be one when they go back on the clock in the second round for the 38th overall pick."
Given that Gosselin says that wide receiver is the deepest position in the draft, selecting Maclin in lieu of an OT makes even less sense. But…we are talking about the Bengals and, specifically, about owner Mike Brown. Brown has never seen an offensive skill player he didn’t like, and if he falls in love with Maclin (or Michael Crabtree or Chris Wells) then it’s game over for all other positions.