After an abysmal 2008 season (4-11-1), the Cincinnati Bengals are looking to have a successful 2009 season. This starts with the 2009 NFL draft. The Bengals have the sixth pick, and will use it wisely.
With needs at many positions, strategy will be key, as to which positions to draft, and in what rounds to draft them.
Let's take a look at the how the Bengals have fared, in recent drafts.
2003 was a year of change for the Bengals. Coming off an awful 2-14 season under Dick LeBeau, the Bengals were given the first overall pick in the 2003 draft.
They selected Carson Palmer, Heisman trophey winner out of USC, and were hoping that he could be the savior that they needed.
Other Notables Selected that year: Eric Steinbach (G, Iowa), Kelly Washington (WR, Tennessee), and Jermi Johnson (FB, Western Kentucky).
The Bengals needed a defensive stud, and fast. David Pollack, out of Georgia, was the answer. Pollack helped the Bengals' defense, on the way to an 11-5 season, and the Bengals first playoff berth in years.
2005 was also the start of something else for the Bengals. Trouble. The Bengals drafted WR Chris Henry out of West Virgina, and Linebacker Odell Thurman out of Georgia.
The Bengals did not know what they had gotten themselves into. Henry and Thurman, went on to get into legal trouble multiple times, and both had been suspended for their off the field actions.
Thurman was suspended by the NFL for the entire 2008 season.
After an 8-8 season, the Bengals were looking for a playmaker to bulk up their running game. They thought that playmaker would be RB Chris Perry, out of Michigan.
Unfortunately, Perry was never near what Cincinnati hoped he would be, being hobbled by injury and lack of success.
Also selected in 2004, was DE Robert Geathers out of Georgia, and he is still a big part of the Bengals defense today.
Stacey Andrews, out of Mississippi, is the last bright spot of the '04 draft, and also, is still lining up to protect Carson Palmer to this day.
Although making the playoffs in 2005, the Bengals needed somebody who could effectively cover a wide receiver. Jonathan Joseph, out of South Carolina, fit that role perfectly, and was given a starting job in his first year.
Also drafted, the Bengals current leading offensive tackle, Andrew Whitworth, and Domata Peko, the Bengals' current top run stopper on the defensive line.
The Bengals got a stroke of luck in 2007, drafting three defensive backs, who are still contributing to the Bengals today.
In the first round, the Bengals selected cornerback Leon Hall out of Michigan, and Hall is now starting at cornerback alongside '06 draft choice Jonathan Joseph.
Marvin White, out of TCU, is still with the Bengals, and making impact as a Safety.
Chinedum Ndukwe, the Bengals last pick in the '07 draft, was not expected to do anything in the NFL. He proved wrong, and is now starting safety for the Bengals.
Kenny Irons, out of Auburn, was supposed to provide a future replacement for aging and frequently injured RB Rudy Johnson. Irons was injured during the preseason, and was eventually released from the Bengals.
Looking to add to an awful Cincinnati defense, the Bengals went with Keith Rivers, linebacker out of USC. Rivers provided an immediate impact on defense, until he was taken out for the season, by breaking his jaw against the Steelers, on a knockout hit by Hines Ward.
With speculation that star wide receivers Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmanzadeh would be leaving the team in the near future, the Bengals took precautions, by drafting two wide recievers: Andre Caldwell out of Florida, and Jerome Simpson out of Coastal Carolina.
Both are projected to have decent playing time in '09 due to the possible and likely loss of their two top receivers.
After an embarrassing season, the Bengals are looking to improve, both on the offensive side, and on the defensive side.
In the first few rounds, look for the Bengals to draft offensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive linemen.