Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Bengals options in 2010 NFL Draft

Yes, I do have other interests aside from boring politics or history :) One of my biggest interests is football, particularly college, but pro football too. I've followed the NFL Draft regularly since 1989 (when I first had ESPN), the draft in which Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas and a number of other players who would go on to become the face of the NFL in the 1990's were drafted. Personally, I would love to work in the NFL in some capacity.

I've been a Bengals fan for 25 years. So I'm particularly interested in who they may draft. I am a "draft the player, not the position" type of person. The Bengals don't have any glaring needs, but do need to fix up at several positions. This year, the talk has been that the Bengals would draft a tight end or receiver. Now that Antonio Bryant and Matt Jones have been signed to free agent contracts, plus the other receivers and tights ends that they have on the roster such as Chase Coffman, it makes this draft being more about solidifying the team more than having to replace the entire wall. I think Coffman (who was on IR last year) and Jones can get the job done. The bigger question is will offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski utilize the tight end as more than just another blocker or diversion? The Bengals particularly in the 1970's and 1980's were known for having tight ends who were legitimate first down threats. It hasn't been the case since Rodney Holman and Tony McGee were Bengals lastly in the early 1990's.

So draft-wise, I think the defensive side of the ball would be the way to go. While the Vol fan in me would love to see Eric Berry in a Bengals uniform, he should go top 10 whereas the Bengals are picking 21. Barring some surprising trade up, I could see the Bengals drafting Southern Cal safety Taylor Mays who would give the Bengals the closet thing they have had to a David Fulcher at the safety position. Depending on how Mays is used, he would need to improve on his angles and tackling to make it at the next level. I expect Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll to draft him at #14. Given the way most NFL defenses are crafted these days, Mays would be a better fit at outside linebacker.

Texas safety Earl Thomas is another possibility. Thomas is a purer defensive back than Mays and would be a better fit than Mays. The only thing keeping Thomas from being a top ten pick is his size, but a good football player is a good football player. Size isn't everything.

Another player the Bengals may consider is Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick. Depth on the defensive line is always desirable and given that the Bengals have a solid one, they can afford to draft for depth rather than just worrying about trading up and losing picks that would be expended for a higher pick.

So I think it will come down to Thomas and Odrick with Mays being a possibility.

No comments: