Bengals’ Draft Will Have To Make Fans Believe Again

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Oct 15, 2015; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal defensive tackle Solomon Thomas (90) celebrates after a tackle in the second quarter against the UCLA Bruins in a NCAA football game at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2015; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal defensive tackle Solomon Thomas (90) celebrates after a tackle in the second quarter against the UCLA Bruins in a NCAA football game at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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The 2017 NFL Draft is upon us. Cincinnati Bengals fans have endured the wait and are ready to see the research in action. But, it has to be one to remember.

Today is the stuff that dreams are made of. No, we’re not going to have a test on Shakespeare. The NFL Draft gets underway in Philadelphia. When the clock chimes their name, the Cincinnati Bengals will have the ninth pick. This is when it gets real, The anticipation has been building and it’s time to make the big board count. Bengals’ brass has to make fans believe again.

If I had to bet the farmhouse on the evening’s proceedings, it wouldn’t be pretty. I’ve never been one to claim the powers of ESP. But, this may be a defensive draft for the Bengals. While Ken Zampese is getting the offense ready for a better showing in the red zone, the D will have to keep things afloat. Remember, the Bengals never go young and meaningful in free agency. Kevin Minter was pulled into the fold and Rey Maualuga was sent packing. Smell that? It’s not teen spirit. It’s a call for defense.

No matter what the Bengals decide to do with that early pick, it has to be something that wows fans. There comes a time when fans want to feel like the franchise has them in mind. Food, adult beverages and decent ticket prices will hold people only so long. This draft has to get the fan base going nuts. Yes, there are tons of options on either side of the ball. But, the decisions have to be immediate impact choices.

The Talent Has To Produce This Year 

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Much has been said about Lewis and his eye for talent. But, it’s all about this draft. The natives aren’t getting restless…they’ve been restless for seven years. Lewis will need to prove that the “eye” can get the Bengals back to the postseason and beyond.

There are freakishly good athletes across the board, But, who fits in Cincinnati? Looking at the defensive side of things, Derek Barnett or Solomon Thomas could be a nice bookend with Carlos Dunlap. Reuben Foster is a beast waiting to happen but may not be around.

Offensively, John Ross was a burner at the NFL Combine but durability issues are a serious matter in the NFL. Tyler Eifert is a poster boy for the matter. Visits from Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon and Leonard Fournette have tipped the Bengals hand. Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard still have plenty of tread left on the wheels. But, the ground game is of major concern.

It’s all about Marvin Lewis and Co. making the right moves. In essence, there’s no room for mistakes. Fans want to witness a productive draft that catapults the Bengals to the next level. There are still intangibles that add to the quest. How will Andrew Billings perform? Is William Jackson ready to shut down receivers? There’s also the truckload of picks from former drafts that make up the depth chart.

It all has to come together and make the 2017 campaign a showstopper. If the road to Super Bowl LII doesn’t go through Cincinnati, the Bengals can still make noise in the playoffs.

Next: Plenty Of Options At Nine

Best Or Necessary?

Whether the Bengals are ready or not,  the time has come. It’s about making the research work. By the time the first round is over, fans should have a good idea of where 2017 is headed. It may not be a major overhaul but it has to be a resounding boom.

The Bengals need to show fans they’re serious about winning. Fans are already intense about wanting results.  

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