Draft guru Mel Kiper, the man who has played a major role in making the NFL Draft the fun-filled, fan-friendly event that it is today, spoke with me recently for my upcoming book, Draft Daze. As I’m known to do, I eventually steered the conversation toward our emerging Bengals. Kiper, as always, had some interesting things to say. Here’s what he thinks about Cincinnati’s needs and their draft plans, starting with pick No. 17.
“I think they have to look at the offensive line. The offensive line is obviously an area of need. They will be looking at running back too and corner is a pressing need as well. With Leon Hall’s injury, their most pressing need might be at corner. They have two first-round picks, maybe they’ll get Dre Kirkpatrick or Janoris Jenkins, or maybe they’ll look at an offensive guard, a guy like Cordy Glenn or David DeCastro.”
“It’s a great spot to be in and they had a heck of a draft last year. Marvin Lewis has done a great job. They’ve now won in four different eras. They made it to the Super Bowl and lost with Ken Anderson and then made it again and lost to San Francisco in a great Super Bowl with Boomer Esiason and Sam Wyche. Now they’re back in (the mix). Some of the Carson Palmer era was successful and now they have the Andy Dalton era. It’s really their fourth era of success.”
With Kiper and McShay both noting the Bengals’ draft position (great with two 1st rounders) and needs (none are overwhelming), it should be obvious that it’s a great time to be a Bengals fan. If the team can simply make solid selections with trouble-free players who are steady professionals, the team has a great opportunitty to produce a run of success that it hasn’t seen in a long time.
Bengals fans might also be interested to know that Kiper’s first draft with ESPN was the same year that Boomer Esiason was selected by the Bengals in the second round.
Many thanks to Mel for the interview in what is the football equivalent of tax season for an accountant. Follow Kiper’s work at ESPN’s Draft page, along with his analysis on Twitter (@MelKiperESPN) and his entertaining podcast, First Draft.