Stay Inside The Lines


As this year’s mock drafts start to roll out, consensus is building that the Bengals will take Georgia WR A.J. Green. nate has linked to several such mock drafts. While his speed and skills are certainly tempting, we at StripeHype continue to preach that drafting him at #4 is not best for the Bengals.

I won’t say that drafting Green would be a mistake. (Drafting Jake Locker at #4 would be a mistake.) He would certainly be an asset for a long time. He would be a good pick, but there are other picks who would be better.

I believe whole-heartedly in the old football adage, “The game is won in the trenches.” By that adage, an elite lineman is always more valuable than an elite WR or RB. Teams with solid offensive and defensive lines have the luxury of taking WR’s in the first. As the countless number of false starts over the last 2 seasons have proven, the Bengals’ offensive line needs a lot of help. And so the Bengals ought to…

Option #1: trade down and draft an offensive lineman. There are a number of good defensive linemen and QBs crowding the top of the draft list, pushing the top offensive linemen down into the back half of the first round. With several teams looking for QBs, the Bengals will be in a great position to trade down, snag an extra pick, and still get what they need most anyway.

Check out what Joe Reedy said about one of the top offensive linemen in this draft: I was impressed talking with Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi. He didn’t play in Saturday’s game due to ankle injury but did show some versatility playing both tackle spots and some guard. He was able to quickly pick up on things.

The Bengals have to upgrade from guys like Nate Livings and Dennis Roland. If one of them stays on as a backup, fine. Neither should be starting though. Improvement in those spots will help whomever is tossing the ball this year.

Option #2: stay at #4 and draft a defensive lineman. If they can’t find a suitable trade, stay put and take one of the elite defensive linemen. Bowers, Fairley, Quinn… at least one of those will be around at #4. Even though Dunlap and Atkins came on strong at the end of the season, this would not be a ‘luxury’ pick. Depth on the lines is vital to sustained success.

With the #4 pick, the Bengals should not

Draft a QB. Yes, the QB spot is in turmoil right now. But Mike Brown said he is not letting Carson go via release or trade, and he absolutely means it. Carson’s threat to retire is little more than that… a threat. He isn’t the type to walk away from his teammates like that. If he did actually retire, the season would be a loss anyway under any rookie QB. Look for an intelligent, hard-working guy from a smaller school in a lower round, and get him ready for 2012.

Draft a RB. Improve the O-line, and you’ll improve the running game.

Draft a WR. With or without Chad, the Bengals don’t have a prototypical #1 receiver. But with Gresham, Shipley, Caldwell and maybe Simpson, plus a later draft pick (a la Dez Briscoe), any QB will have options. And if Chad is still around, he will still demand attention and allow the others to have better years.

Draft a CB. JJoe would like to stay. Get it done.