Now that Spring Break is over, break out your Andy Williams 8-track because it’s time to get ready for “the most wonderful time” of the offseason, the draft! We have feverishly poured over wish lists, and soon we will discover what gifts Mikey Claus will bring down the PBS chimney.
The Bengals made a lot of moves in free agency and have created plenty of camp competition, but they really only made one significant addition in bringing in BJGE. The FO seems confident that with the players brought in, the 2012 is wide open. Personally, I don’t see where any of their needs have changed very much. They may have collected several first round flops, but trusting a guy who busted elsewhere to be the man here is farther than I am willing to go.
In preparation for the draft, let’s sort through the guys that the Bengals already have signed on offense.
Quarterback (3): Andy Dalton, Bruce Gradkowski, Zac Robinson.
Will Andy suffer a sophomore slump? (Before you say “Not from our guy!”, ask a Rams fan if they thought Bradford would stink last year.) Will Marvin be content to go into another season with just two QBs? It’s a gamble, but with a seasoned backup like Gradkowski, I consider it a risk worth taking to carry an extra guy at another spot.
Tackle (5): Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith, Anthony Collins, Dennis Roland, Matthew O’Donnell.
Will Andre finally look worthy of his #6 pick now that he is in a contract year? He benefited last year from cutting down on the trips to Golden Corral, but he still was not as dominant as we’ve been told he should be. If he continues to be mediocre, will the coaches be willing to pull the trigger and finally give Collins a shot to win the starting gig?
Guard (4): Travelle Wharton, Clint Boling, Jacob Bell, Otis Hudson.
Will Wharton give the Bengals the ability to run left that Livings couldn’t? His numbers sagged while in front of Cam Newton (who is a grading anomaly for sure) last year. Will Boling take a big step forward from the few starts he got last year? He was decent in his couple of starts while Bobbie Williams was suspended, but was also overmatched at times as a rookie.
Center (1): Kyle Cook.
Will KC stay healthy and play well between two new guards? Cook has been a good anchor on the line. Avoiding injury is the main concern here.
Running Back (5): BenJarvis Green-Ellis, Bernard Scott, Brian Leonard, Cedric Peerman, Aaron Brown.
Will BJGE continue to take those tough yards in goal line and short yardage situations? No slight on Andy, but the threat of Tom Brady has to skew the defense a bit. Will the RB-by-committee approach finally yield results in a division that is tough against the run? We’ve been asking for it for a few years now, and we are finally going to get it.
Fullback (2): Chris Pressley, James Develin.
Will the coaches keep a FB or try to go without one again? (They would be nuts to try to go without again IMO.)
Tight End (3): Jermaine Gresham, Donald Lee, Colin Cochart.
Will Gresham finally become the pass-catching beast that he ought to be? The Bengals need him to dominate the middle of the field, which will also benefit the receivers. Keeping Lee was a nice move by the FO.
Wide Receivers (7): A.J. Green, Jordan Shipley, Andrew Hawkins, Armon Binns, Ryan Whalen, Brandon Tate, Vidal Hazelton.
Will the coaches try to groom a #2 receiver out of this group? None of them has the pedigree I’d like to see in the man who is supposed to relieve the pressure from A.J. Green. Will Binns step up even though he has no career receptions in regular season games? Supposed the coaches love him, but he is as raw as they come right now. (And please tell me all of these Limas Sweed rumors are just a late, cruel April Fools joke.)
The Bengals are pretty well set at QB, OT, C, FB and TE. Questions still remain at OG and WR, and RB could probably use further bolstering.
I am very curious how Marvin will approach this draft. On offense, I consider the need at guard to be bigger than at receiver. But if they wait until round 2 to take a receiver, they are going to end up with a guy who needs a year to develop anyway, essentially negating the pick for this season.