2011 NFL Draft | Cincinnati Bengals Team Needs
I’ll tell you one thing: I’m sure glad that I’m not in the Cincinnati Bengals organization right now. The Bengals went from very bad, to a playoff contender, and right back to very bad in just a few years. It’s a vicious circle in Cincinnati, and it only seems to be getting worse.
Carson Palmer wants out regardless of who’s coaching, who’s calling the plays, and who’s on the team. He just doesn’t want to play there anymore. Chad Johnson (ok, it’s not officially Johnson yet) may be on the way out, and Terrell Owens is gone as well.
The secondary was riddled with injuries in 2010, and they struggled more than ever, despite having talented corners in Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph. The run defense is in shambles thanks to injuries to the defensive line, as well, and the morale of the team is at a low. It’s not at an All-Time low, however, because remember, Akili Smith was once their starting quarterback.
Biggest Needs: WR, RB, QB, OL
The Bengals really just need a complete offensive overhaul. Andre Caldwell, Jerome Simpson, and Jordan Shipley all came to play at the end of the season, but none of them are big enough play makers to be surefire #1 receivers. Chad Johnson isn’t a star anymore, and it may be time for the Bengals to move on without him.
Carson Palmer just isn’t getting it done, and he wants nothing to do with the organization.
Cedric Benson may be on the outs, as well, because he doesn’t feel that he gets enough carries, and there’s a reason for that: he’s not very good. The Bengals need a legit running back that wants to come and play in every game, and isn’t going to be a locker room cancer.
To make it worse, the offensive line is very poor. They need more stability at both tackle positions, as well as both guard positions. Andrew Whitworth is their best lineman, and he may be serviceable enough to keep playing left tackle for another season, but it’s clear that Andre Smith isn’t the future on the left side for the Bengals.
The Bengals can go with a few different options with the #4 overall pick. A.J. Green seems like a very suitable target to give the team a legit #1 receiver again, or the Bengals could look to select Blaine Gabbert who has a nice arm to throw downfield, and groom him for a season or two behind Carson Palmer if he will agree to stay.
Biggest Needs: DT, S, DE
The Bengals were the fourth worst team in the league in getting to the quarterback in 2010. Rookie Carlos Dunlap was a pleasant surprise register 9.5 of their 27 sacks. But they failed to get much production out of Robert Geathers and Michael Johnson. Antwan Odom was placed on injured reserve after just four games, which was frustrating as he came off an eight sack 2009 season. Da’Quan Bowers could end up being the pick at #4 for the Bengals, but they may be inclined to steer clear of him in hopes that Geathers and Antwan Odom can remain healthy for the 2011 NFL Season.
The Bengals biggest defensive need lies at defensive tackle. Domata Peko can only do so much, as he is a very solid player for them. But they need a true penetrator to play the position, and a guy that can disrupt the backfield and make plays behind the line of scrimmage. If Nick Fairley falls to the 4th overall pick, then he will likely be the selection.
Finally, the Bengals really need to find a solution at both safety spots. Gibril Wilson didn’t even see the field after going on IR before the season started. Reggie Nelson is one of the bigger busts of the of the 2007 NFL Draft, and there’s a reason that the Jaguars had no problems parting ways with him, despite their big time struggles with safety. Chris Crocker is a serviceable start at free safety at best, although he’ll likely lose his job to a healthy Chinedum Ndukwe. Regardless, all of these safeties are average players at best. Did I mention they had Roy Williams? Well, we all know the story with him when it comes to playing in coverage. A guy like Deunta Williams would be a great fit for them in the 2nd round.