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Bengals’ draft should focus on linemen


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[quote][size=5][b]Bengals’ draft should focus on linemen[/b][/size]
Sabel's Haus
Garrett Sabelhaus | The News Record

Updated: Sunday, February 1, 2009

“With the third pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select Akili Smith from Oregon.”

Those words are scarred into the memory of all Bengals fans and are just one of the many draft blunders from the Cincinnati front office, aka Mike Brown.

Smith was thought to be the future quarterback of the Bengals but instead is probably playing in some league overseas as a third stringer.

Maybe it wasn’t all Smith’s fault though. He did have to come to Cincinnati.

That year the Bengals passed on All-Pro players like Edgerrin James, Torry Holt and Champ Bailey, as well as Mike Ditka’s offer to trade all of the Saints’ draft picks for Cincinnati’s first round pick.

The question arises every year around this time. Who should the Bengals should draft and what position needs to be filled the most? Who will be Mike Brown’s cure all for the 2009 season?

Truth is, there is no cure all.

Cincinnati needs to start building its lines first and worry about skill positions in later rounds.

This year the overall consensus seems to be there is a need for an offensive lineman, someone who can help protect Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer and anchor an offensive line that gave up 51 sacks last season, the third most in the NFL.

With the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft, the Bengals should be hoping that the 6-foot-4-inch, 340-pound University of Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith falls into their lap. Smith can take over for Levi Jones, who barely made it through the 2008 season, and can protect Palmer’s blind side.

If Smith is taken before the Bengals pick, then there are a few other offensive linemen who would suffice. The University of Virginia’s Eugene Monroe or the University of Mississippi’s Michael Oher are the other top offensive line candidates.

I can’t justify the Bengals going after a player other than an offensive lineman even though linebackers like Aaron Curry and Rey Maualuga should still be available.

Besides, Keith Rivers’ face should be put back together by next season and he could make a big impact on the defense with some line help. Plus, I just saw Odell Thurman’s resume on careerbuilder.com.

In the second round, the Bengals need to think defense, and they don’t have to look any further than their own backyard.

University of Cincinnati defensive back Mike Mickens or defensive end Connor Barwin would be a perfect fit for the Bengals, who need help at both positions.

The Bengals staff already had a good look at Barwin during the Senior Bowl, and the former tight end turned defensive end should raise his stock at the NFL combine.

Most mock drafts project Mickens as a late first round or early second round pick, so he may be gone by the time the Bengals make their second pick at 38th overall. Besides, the Bengals need defensive line help more.

Other than Barwin, defensive end Sen’Derrick Marks from Auburn University should be available for the Bengals second pick.

The junior recorded 32 tackles and two sacks last season and won the Eddie Welch Award from his coaches for attitude and effort prior to the 2008 season, something the Bengals could use a lot of.

The third round is where I throw in a little bit of a sleeper pick. I think the Bengals should take a running back to compliment Cedric Benson in the backfield, but only if the right choice is available.

If Donald Brown is still on the board by the third round then take him. The former University of Connecticut running back gashed the Bearcats last season for 150 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns as a junior.

In case they can’t get Brown, then look for the Bengals to look for a running back in a later round. They should also look to snag a linebacker, a wide receiver and a defensive back on day two.

If the draft does turn out to be a bust, then draft watchers should look forward to one certainty: This should be the year that draft guru’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay start a brawl on the set of ESPN.

E-mail Garrett at sabelhgt@email.uc.edu.[/quote]




[url="http://www.newsrecord.org/sections/sports/bengals_draft_should_focus_on_linemen-1.1320488"]http://www.newsrecord.org/sections/sports/...nemen-1.1320488[/url]
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[quote name='claptonrocks' post='744051' date='Feb 3 2009, 02:13 PM']Id rather they draft Mualaga in round one and come back in the next two with Olinemen..
He'd give the defense the toughness they lack...
They have bookends in Levi/Collins and Whit at the RT if they want it.
draft a center and guard and sign a vet center...[/quote]


Clap, I was thinking the same thing.. We most Def, need a center! But I really think Collins and Livings did an admirable job on the Left side of the line. Collins did a nice job on the DPOTY, so he showed that the game isn't too big for him and he also held Freeney until Indy got far ahead and we HAD to pass. so all they did was pin their ears back and rush the passer. So given a whole camp working as the first team with time to gel.. Put Whit on the RT side and I think the line would be pretty decent.

I would like to have Rey as the first pick that would be a kick ass LB corp.

Now don't get me wrong, we do some quality depth on the O-line
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[quote name='cincity' post='744060' date='Feb 3 2009, 10:06 AM']Clap, I was thinking the same thing.. We most Def, need a center! But I really think Collins and Livings did an admirable job on the Left side of the line. Collins did a nice job on the DPOTY, so he showed that the game isn't too big for him and he also held Freeney until Indy got far ahead and we HAD to pass. so all they did was pin their ears back and rush the passer. So given a whole camp working as the first team with time to gel.. Put Whit on the RT side and I think the line would be pretty decent.

I would like to have Rey as the first pick that would be a kick ass LB corp.

Now don't get me wrong, we do some quality depth on the O-line[/quote]

Fitz wasn't trying the 7 step drops that Carson does. The gameplan when Collins started was based on quick throws from short drops. We don't really know how he'll do when Carson is back since Fitz can't make the same throws as Carson so the play calls were different.
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[quote name='sparky151' post='744082' date='Feb 3 2009, 12:40 PM']Fitz wasn't trying the 7 step drops that Carson does. The gameplan when Collins started was based on quick throws from short drops. We don't really know how he'll do when Carson is back since Fitz can't make the same throws as Carson so the play calls were different.[/quote]

Also have to take into account that this is part of the problem...Carson should have had a lot more 3 step drops in 07. Trying to plug up complex blitz schemes from the likes of PIT and NE with 7 step drops and minimal protection hasn't really worked out the way they want it too (see 2005) even when Carson wasn't getting sacked.

Plus a lot of people saw Collins and even Andrews get beat by their guy this year taking a long looping line to the QB...In many instances, while it was their guy who got the sack, Bluto was the one who couldn't make room for Fitz to step up so he had no where to go and got sacked. Upgrade the C spot and you'll see whoever is playing QB hit that back foot and step up into the pocket (if the throw isn't there) to look for his other reads and not get sacked even though the DE appeared to have the OT beat.
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[quote name='Squirrlnutz' post='744105' date='Feb 3 2009, 05:41 PM']Also have to take into account that this is part of the problem...Carson should have had a lot more 3 step drops in 07. Trying to plug up complex blitz schemes from the likes of PIT and NE with 7 step drops and minimal protection hasn't really worked out the way they want it too (see 2005) even when Carson wasn't getting sacked.

Plus a lot of people saw Collins and even Andrews get beat by their guy this year taking a long looping line to the QB...In many instances, while it was their guy who got the sack, Bluto was the one who couldn't make room for Fitz to step up so he had no where to go and got sacked. Upgrade the C spot and you'll see whoever is playing QB hit that back foot and step up into the pocket (if the throw isn't there) to look for his other reads and not get sacked even though the DE appeared to have the OT beat.[/quote]


Good analysis.... I hope you're right Squirrlnutz
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[quote name='Squirrlnutz' post='744105' date='Feb 3 2009, 12:41 PM']Also have to take into account that this is part of the problem...Carson should have had a lot more 3 step drops in 07. Trying to plug up complex blitz schemes from the likes of PIT and NE with 7 step drops and minimal protection hasn't really worked out the way they want it too (see 2005) even when Carson wasn't getting sacked.[/quote]


isn't this why the shotgun was originally instituted? with carson being somewhat slow of foot and having that bum knee to boot, i don't understand why they don't use the shotgun more than they do.
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[quote name='bengaled' post='744125' date='Feb 3 2009, 02:59 PM']isn't this why the shotgun was originally instituted? with carson being somewhat slow of foot and having that bum knee to boot, i don't understand why they don't use the shotgun more than they do.[/quote]
I agree, in 05 and 06 we were dangerous in the shotgun-no-huddle offense. In 07 they seemed to only use it in the last two minutes of the half or game.
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[quote name='bengaled' post='744125' date='Feb 3 2009, 01:59 PM']isn't this why the shotgun was originally instituted? with carson being somewhat slow of foot and having that bum knee to boot, i don't understand why they don't use the shotgun more than they do.[/quote]

There have been times I thought they used too much shotgun. I'm thinking mostly of the opening Baltimore game.

They went max protect alot, shotgun, basically built a fort around him. Sounds great, but he was in the same spot all the time.

Its mostly memory, but I remember thinking/begging them to move him around a little and get him out of the tee off zone.

There wasn't much guess work to where he'd be so it destroyed any leverage the blocker had.
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[quote name='akiliMVP' post='744100' date='Feb 3 2009, 12:25 PM']I would be fairly upset if they drafted Mickens or Barwin in round two.

Also, JUST SAY NO TO MAUALUGA[/quote]


I agree with a lot of your concerns about Maualuga, but at the same time I'm going to trust Zimmer and Fitzgerald's judgment if they take him. Between them they have taken and developed Bart Scott, Terrell Suggs, Demarcus Ware, James Johnston, Greg Ellis, and others.
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Todd McShay now has us taking Andre Smith, but he says RT would be his starting position.

6. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1): Andre Smith*, OT, Alabama
The Bengals need to solidify their offensive line. RT Stacy Andrews took a step backward before his knee injury, and Smith is a good fit to step in immediately as a starter on the right side.

This is another site that projects him on the Right side:

6. Cincinnati Bengals - Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
If Carson Palmer is making this pick, then this decision should take less than 5 seconds. Palmer has been banged up because of his struggling offensive line, and to make matters worse is RT Stacy Andrews, the current franchise player, could leave via free agency. This pick should be either OT Smith, Michael Oher or Jason Smith, depending who is available come draft time. The Bengals may consider Chris Wells if he is here, but look for them to try to sign Cedric Benson in the offseason. If Andre Smith is here he is just too good to pass on. [b]He is probably best suited at RT, but that is ok, as I mentioned above the Bengals could lose RT Stacy Andrews. [/b] The Bengals could also boost its pass rushing with DE Brian Orakpo, but they have invested a lot of money in DEs Robert Geathers and Antwan Odom, both were mostly injured last season. Marvin Lewis also seemed to be a fan of Rey Maualuga at the Senior Bowl and would love to team him up with past USC teammate Keith Rivers, but if Smith is on the board there is no decision. Remember, it was the Bengals' offense which finished last in the NFL.
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[quote name='cincity' post='744391' date='Feb 4 2009, 09:55 AM']Todd McShay now has us taking Andre Smith, but he says RT would be his starting position.

6. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1): Andre Smith*, OT, Alabama
The Bengals need to solidify their offensive line. RT Stacy Andrews took a step backward before his knee injury, and Smith is a good fit to step in immediately as a starter on the right side.

This is another site that projects him on the Right side:

6. Cincinnati Bengals - Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
If Carson Palmer is making this pick, then this decision should take less than 5 seconds. Palmer has been banged up because of his struggling offensive line, and to make matters worse is RT Stacy Andrews, the current franchise player, could leave via free agency. This pick should be either OT Smith, Michael Oher or Jason Smith, depending who is available come draft time. The Bengals may consider Chris Wells if he is here, but look for them to try to sign Cedric Benson in the offseason. If Andre Smith is here he is just too good to pass on. [b]He is probably best suited at RT, but that is ok, as I mentioned above the Bengals could lose RT Stacy Andrews. [/b] The Bengals could also boost its pass rushing with DE Brian Orakpo, but they have invested a lot of money in DEs Robert Geathers and Antwan Odom, both were mostly injured last season. Marvin Lewis also seemed to be a fan of Rey Maualuga at the Senior Bowl and would love to team him up with past USC teammate Keith Rivers, but if Smith is on the board there is no decision. Remember, it was the Bengals' offense which finished last in the NFL.[/quote]

"probably" being the key word here. we could do worse than andre smith as our 1st pick. quite likely, barring injury, you're talking about a franchise tackle for years on end. it would only be a bonus if that's on the blindside. with all the question marks we have at BOTH tackle positions, i can't see how that pick would hurt us.
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[quote name='scharm' post='744183' date='Feb 3 2009, 03:36 PM']There have been times I thought they used too much shotgun. I'm thinking mostly of the opening Baltimore game.

They went max protect alot, shotgun, basically built a fort around him. Sounds great, but he was in the same spot all the time.

Its mostly memory, but I remember thinking/begging them to move him around a little and get him out of the tee off zone.

There wasn't much guess work to where he'd be so it destroyed any leverage the blocker had.[/quote]
there's nothing to say you can't move the pocket out of that formation, is there? that is, move the pocket anywhere but stepping up. unfortunately, that hasn't been a viable option since guycheck took over. <_<

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[quote name='Jamie_B' post='744413' date='Feb 4 2009, 12:22 PM']I really hope we dont draft a RT with the #6 pick, LT ok, RT no.[/quote]
That is the one thing that really makes me hesitent too. 60 million or so on a guy who can't protect the QBs blindside seems like a lot.

A lot of people seem to think Whitworth can move to RT and be a starter, some think Collins was drafted to be the RT, so based on the prevailing thoughts I think it would be a bad idea to lock up so much money in a guy who can only play one position, especially when we already have two guys who might be able to play that spot.

I'm not thrilled at all about taking an OT with #6,[u] but if we do, he has to be able to play LT.[/u] Maybe not the first year as we're figuring out what Collins can do and how healthy Levi is (then again if these are viable options why are we taking a tackle?) but certainly by the second year.

Because of this odd situation where we have a couple LTs, some who could potentially be RTs, already on the roster, with a lot of money tied up in one and some promise shown in the other and a decent enough track record with the one who is playing LG, I think the team will try to avoid paying a new guy LT money and subsequently handi-capping the roster because this guy has to play...when potentially the answer is already on the team.

Now if they take a 2nd-3rd round OT then this guy is on the books for peanuts so its okay if he can only play one spot and he can have a chance to battle for the starting spot
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[quote name='The Scales' post='744445' date='Feb 4 2009, 01:33 PM']Most freakish [b]leetness[/b] pass rush or linebacker with the first pick.

Then linemans.

Then Corners.

Then Running Backs.

Assuming we do not much of anything in Free agency of course.[/quote]
Huh?

Regardless of what that means, thats how I wanna see our draft play out as well. If we take a DE, we're gonna stand him up. Plus I wouldn't mind taking a punter like Huber in the 5th or 6th..
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[quote name='Jamie_B' post='744426' date='Feb 4 2009, 12:52 PM']Whit saying he could play RT if asked makes me think they may move him, and draft a pulling guard and center in 2 and 3, with taking either curry or stand up orakpo and finally get a SAM that can rush the passer.

Or at least I can hope.[/quote]
Or you can put Andrews at LG where he seemed to be 10x better and draft a center

LT - Collins
LG - Andrews
C - Mack/Unger/Wood/Caldwell
RG - Williams
RT - Whitworth
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[quote name='akiliMVP' post='744449' date='Feb 4 2009, 12:48 PM']Or you can put Andrews at LG where he seemed to be 10x better and draft a center

LT - Collins
LG - Andrews
C - Mack/Unger/Wood/Caldwell
RG - Williams
RT - Whitworth[/quote]


Assuming he starts the season, and assuming he is signed long term.

Both are big IFs right now.
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[quote name='akiliMVP' post='744449' date='Feb 4 2009, 05:48 PM']Or you can put Andrews at LG where he seemed to be 10x better and draft a center

LT - Collins
LG - Andrews
C - Mack/Unger/Wood/Caldwell
RG - Williams
RT - Whitworth[/quote]

I didnt know Collins played RT for Kansas a year or two:

"As a sophomore, Collins took over right offensive tackle duties. He helped the offense average 374.2 yards per game, as he earned Associated Press All-Big Twelve Conference honorable mention. He averaged 5.33 knockdown blocks (64 total) per game while playing in 12 games.

In 2007, Collins shifted to left tackle. He was a finalist for the Outland Trophy and garnered consensus All-American first-team accolades, despite sitting out the first series of the Toledo game due to a disciplinary issue and missing the Iowa State game with a right ankle sprain. He delivered 108 knockdowns with 15 touchdown-resulting blocks for an offense that generated 479.8 yards per game."

So there's another option... But I wouldn't want to make him start the learning curve on the Right side all over again.. Maybe it would be better to keep him on the left side.
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[quote name='Jamie_B' post='744453' date='Feb 4 2009, 01:54 PM']Assuming he starts the season, and assuming he is signed long term.

Both are big IFs right now.[/quote]
Yeah I was just throwing out ideas.

I think Andre Smith is the pick if he is there though, which is looking more and more likely. He can play on the left or right side, and is an absolute beast run blocker. I don't know if Collins has the left side locked down, but even if he does you don't pass on a pro bowl right tackle just because he's a right tackle.
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