For NFL fans, the draft is the closest thing we get to Christmas. Unfortunately, we Bengals fans have gotten a lot of duds over the years. Reinard Wilson. Akili Smith. David Klingler. And so on. Let’s hope this year brings less pink bunny suits and more Red Ryder BB Guns.
With less than 24 hours to the kickoff of the draft (and a few more until the Bengals pick), I did a quick survey of Bengals fans. Here are the wish lists of three fans in three different states (targeting only players who could be available when the Bengals pick).
Me – Pittsburgh, PA (No joke. Pray for me.)
1. Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan – It’s tough to put a Wolverine first, but Graham comes with talent, production and no baggage. Graham would start as a situational edge rusher and could be groomed to replace Antwaan Odom or Robert Geathers.
2. Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State – Yes, he has some baggage, but many experts believe he’s a top-5 talent. And at No. 21, Bryant would be a steal. He’s a bit out of game shape and struggles with his work ethic, but I actually think Chad Ochocinco could be a good influence in some aspects. (Wow, I really just typed that).
3. Earl Thomas, S, Texas – Taylor Mays may have better measurable numbers, but I still think Thomas is a safer pick. Thomas could start as a nickel corner perhaps and step into the safety position once Chris Crocker or Roy Williams get injured or move on.
4. Sergio Kindle, DE/OLB. Texas – Kindle has been growing on me in recent days. I think he can provide immediate value for the Bengals as a pass rusher and then transition into a linebacker role in his second season. With the Bengals facing a Murderer’s Row of quarterbacks in the 2010 Schedule, I think any defensive pick – especially a pass rusher – is a valuable one.
5. Taylor Mays, S, USC – I think concerns about Mays are overblown. At the NFL Combine, he was first in both the forty-yard dash and the broad jump. Coaches can work on his technique, but they can’t teach his freakish attributes. Mays’ big body is perfect for the AFC North. I think his tackling and coverage skills can be improved over time.
Scotty Too Hotty – Columbus, Ohio
1. Mike Iupati–Without a doubt the guy I like the best. Tough and nasty. Never can have enough of those guys.
2. Taylor Mays–It would be nice to have one of the top two safeties, but they will be gone. Maybe Mays has a chip since people are trash-talking him. Biggest need in my opinion is safety.
3. Jermaine Gresham–Nobody likes this pick, but another weapon can’t hurt. Remember what Dustin Keller did?
4. Dez Bryant–I go back and forth on this because of all his baggage. Could be great and worth the risk at 21.
5. Kyle Wilson–Why not a corner? Will both Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph be around in two years? It can’t hurt to have another cover guy. He also is a good returner.
Big Dog – Houston, Texas
1. Brandon Graham
2. Earl Thomas
3. Dez Bryant
4. Jermaine Gresham
5. Mike Iupati