Cincinnati Bengals, Post Draft, and OTA
Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis on the field during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers during the AFC wild card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Now that the draft is over and everyone has had time to reflect on all of their picks, it appears the Cincinnati Bengals have once again done well in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Bengals went into the draft with needs at cornerback, running back, offensive line, defensive line, and at some point quarterback. Round after round the Bengals seemed to address these needs and most NFL analysts have come to the general consensus that the Bengals finished with a B to B+ draft grade. To recap, the Bengals first five picks were what they felt to be immediate needs, in descending order. Meaning, 1st round was top priority down to the 5th round pick, A.J. McCarron from Alabama. One by one, the Bengals took high quality talent, and the McCarron pick does give Dalton a sense of urgency, because it shows the Bengals are committed to winning with Andy Dalton, but are also willing to move on.
It is doubtful at this point that the Cincinnati Bengals will sign additional free agents unless a deal is right, or there are injuries in training camp. With that said, what the Bengals have is what they have and this is a snapshot of who is going to be on the field in the 2014 season. Some fans may not like the fact the Bengals took running back Jeremy Hill from LSU in the 2nd round when Carlos Hyde from Ohio State was still available, but the Bengals trust Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson, and this is what he wants.
Also, the Bengals have made it clear that they are going to put whatever and whomever they can around quarterback Andy Dalton to help him succeed. It is feeling like now more than ever, Dalton needs to win in the playoffs. If not, the Bengals seem prepared to move on.
With Organized Team Activities (OTA) starting this week, it will be interesting to get a few glimpses of how some guys have progressed since either injury or ability in the offseason. Even though most players will look dominant in just shorts and helmets, the coaching staff and fans will start to see who is progressing and standing out, and who flat out is not. OTAs for the Bengals start Tuesday May 27th and end Thursday May 29th. They resume Tuesday June 3rd and run through June 5th, with mandatory minicamp starting June 10-12.