Since ProFootballTalk discussed the Bengals’ draft needs today, I thought it made sense to offer my own opinions. PFT’s Mike Florio seems to think the team should target a quarterback at No. 4 overall, but I don’t think that makes a whole lot of sense.
Taking Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert eliminates any chance of a Carson Palmer comeback and reduces Palmer’s trade value to nothing (which is what the team has already done to Chad Ochocinco). I think it makes more sense to target the best defensive player available in Round 1 and try to win with a Raven-esque defense in 2011. Then, the Bengals can go after one of the second-tier quarterbacks in Round 2. Many scouts don’t see a tremendous difference between the first-round talent and players like Christian Ponder, Colin Kapernick, and Andy Dalton, so it doesn’t make sense to risk a top-pick – and top-pick money – on a quarterback who is far from a sure thing.
I was also surprised to see offensive line not mentioned as a Bengals’ need. Outside of Andrew Whitworth at left tackle, the Bengals could use upgrades at several other positions. Right guard Bobbie Williams appears past his prime, right tackle Andre Smith has been a major disappointment, and the team has been playing undrafted free agents at left guard and center. I would consider it a legitimate area or concern.
Florio is right on the other spots. Safety needs some serious help and Patrick Peterson would be a great fit if he’s available at No. 4. The team could also use some more depth at linebacker and receiver, although I’m not as concerned about the wideouts as some others (Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell were rather impressive in the team’s final games). And the defensive line, which wasn’t mentioned, could also use some more bodies. Robert Geathers would probably be best as a situational player instead of a starter and Antwan Odom hasn’t really been the same since an Achilles injury. It would be nice if the team could find another effective pass rusher to play opposite Carlos Dunlap.
Overall, the Bengals need some serious help in this year’s draft.
Let’s hope they find it.