Are Bengals falling behind being too conservative with draft trades?
The Bengals have been notoriously conservative when it comes to draft day trades. Is their stubbornness holding them back? Many NFL teams have been bold when it comes to making trades to move up and acquire a player they want or moving back to add more draft capital. Cincinnati usually waits for their pick.
The Bengals are one of only three NFL teams without a general manager. The Dallas Cowboys are the only other NFL team that has an owner who serves as the defacto GM for his team. Jerry Jones has a high profile, but the Cowboys have not won a Super Bowl in 25 years. Cincinnati hasn’t won a playoff game in 30 years.
Jones has been active trading while the Bengals almost always draft based on their originally slotted picks. When Jimmy Johnson was hired by Jones ahead of the 1989 NFL Draft, Johnson became the first defacto GM to use NFL Draft picks are capital to acquire a specific player or improve capital.
The Bengals often become too tied to where they are picking in the NFL Draft instead of listening to other teams and how a trade could help them. Cincinnati director of player personnel Duke Tobin said earlier this week they are willing to make a trade if they can still acquire a premier player in the NFL Draft.
Peter King of NBC Sports profiled the new breed of NFL General Manager in a column for Pro Football Talk. Chris Grier of the Miami Dolphins shook up the 2021 NFL Draft with a pair of trades with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers late last month. King also mentioned Howie Roseman of Philadelphia.
"“There’s a new breed of NFL general manager, and he’s not afraid to make big trades…I love GMs who believe the draft is a vehicle to get better in all ways and don’t treat first-round picks like untouchables. When I first started covering football in the eighties, GMs were almost irrationally tied to their first-round picks. No more.The free-wheeling Jimmy Johnson started to change that in Dallas, figuring he could always find a draft choice if he really needed one. Now, from Seattle’s John Schneider in the Pacific Northwest, to (Chris) Grier down in south Florida, from John Lynch and Les Snead out West to Howie Roseman back East, it’s a trader’s game.”"
Schneider has won a Superbowl and two NFC Championships with Seattle, Grier has transformed the Dolphins roster and turned them into a playoff in five seasons as general manager, Lynch led the 49ers to the Superbowl last year, Roseman won a Superbowl with the Eagles defeating Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
The question isn’t whether or not the Bengals should make a trade in the 2021 NFL Draft. Cincinnati is in a good spot with the fifth pick in the draft. Drafting Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase or Florida tight end Kyle Pitts could be too good to pass up.
The Bengals have been aggressive during the last two offseasons in free agency. Moving up and down in the NFL Draft to acquire talent or draft picks is becoming de rigueur in the current NFL. If Cincinnati wants to become an elite franchise they need to start having the mindset successful teams have.