When it comes to draft day, or as was the case in 2010 draft days, there can be a lot of buzz following some teams and seemingly no news from others. Teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos take players that were projected to go much later in the draft (Tyson Alualu- JAX 10th pick, Tim Tebow- DEN 25th pick). Every year, however, there are teams that have their list of guys they would love to have, hold tight in their picks with no trades, and just select the best available from their own board. For example, the Cincinnati Bengals this year.
Although the stay put attitude of these certain teams may seem much more boring than the high-flying, quick decision trade attack, I feel like it can be a very successful strategy. The Broncos decide to move back twice packaging picks to move back up to take Tebow. Meanwhile, the Bengals have selected Jermaine Gresham, possibly the most predictable pick of the first round. I'll now go into a little detail about some of the picks to show what the Bengals were thinking not moving up or down:
Round One, Pick 21: Jermaine Gresham, TE Oklahoma- Just what the Bengals needed. With the losses of T.J. Houshmandzadeh last year and the struggle over the last couple years to find a consistently solid tight end, Carson Palmer needs a consistent receiving tight end to go across the middle that has good hands. Although not a great blocker, put across from Reggie Kelly (if resigned) or last years third-round pick Chase Coffman will allow Gresham to shine in this offense.
Round Two, Pick 54: Carlos Dunlap, DE Florida- The offensive and defensive lines make or break teams in the NFL. Also, getting a strong pass rush forcing opposing quarterbacks to rush their motions and throws will greatly affect the outcome of a game. Dunlap brings that to an D-line that is slowly coming together, simply adding depth at the position while adding to the pass rush from already instituted DE's Antwaan Odom, Robert Geathers, and Michael Johnson, as well as Frostee Rucker.
Round Three, Pick 84: Jordan Shipley, WR Texas- For information on why Shipley was a good choice, just see above for Gresham on the part about being a middle of the field threat for Palmer. Shipley has consistent hands and a knack for the ball. As Colt McCoy's primary target, he saw all kinds of routes and throws in his days at Texas. He is a perfect fit for a slot receiver, adding to the wonderful receiver depth the Bengals are building behind starters Chad Ochocinco and Antonio Bryant.
Round Three, Pick 96: Brandon Ghee, CB Missouri- Talk about a freak athlete. Plain and simple, Ghee just makes plays. He is one of the most athletic players taken in the draft, and is just a gifted athlete. Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph are already good starters, and last year's selection Morgan Trent came on as a good pass rusher but has not progressed into the perfect Nickel and Dime corner they need. Ghee fills this need, and if nothing else puts more pressure on the improving Trent to work even harder.
Round Four, Pick 120: Geno Atkins, DT Georgia- Quick. Explosive. Undersized? These are the three comments most expressed about Atkins, but I only agree with two of them. Although a little undersized, he has the quickness and explosiveness to add to the pass rush and even disrupt running plays before they get started from his interior position. The rotational defensive line that the Bengals and many teams implement will definitely have him involved for certain packages.
Round Four, Pick 131: Roddrick Muckelroy, LB Texas- I absolutely love this pick. The Bengals' linebacker corps has grown steadily, and with recent drafts has become very deep. Muckelroy, in all honestly, will probably only see time on special teams or certain very specific plays as a rookie, but he can definitely make an impact. He struggled in workouts, but has the awareness and agility to be a consistent run defender and when stepping back into coverage. In my opinion, one of the best linebackers in the draft.
Round Six, Pick 191: Dezmon Briscoe, WR Kansas- A tall receiver that plays even taller than he is, Briscoe will start work in the special teams (possibly with Shipley) but will also compete for a job with all of these other Bengals receivers. Ocho and Bryant already have their spots. According to interviews of coaches done by Bengals.com, the rest of the receiver spots are up for grabs. That means that Briscoe and Shipley are working for their playing time against incumbents Andre Caldwell, Jerome Simpson, Quan Cosby, and newly acquired or activated from the practice squad Matt Jones, Chris Davis, Freddie Brown and Maurice Purify.
A guard and tackle were taken with the Bengals' other two picks: G Otis Hudson out of Eastern Illinois in the fifth and OT Reggie Stephens out of Iowa State in the seventh
My only issue with Cincinnati's draft as Day Three came to a close was that the Bengals had not gone out of their way to snag a safety. I personally feel like safety was one of our biggest areas of need, so it was disappointing to see them not take one, even though they had a successful draft and a few good safeties were taken before they could get them. Taylor Mays is a player that I really wanted the Bengals to get, and without a doubt one of my favorite players in this draft.
It has been reported since, however, that the Bengals had been in talks with multiple teams above them to try to move up to grab Mays but just could not get a deal done. Although unfortunate that we did not get him, it was good to see that even with the stay put attitude they had at least tried to go out and get the player they wanted.
Overall, however, I have nothing to say but congratulations to Cincinnati on another good draft. Until recently (the last year or two) Bengals fans like myself have not known the meaning of the phrase "a good draft by the Bengals." It makes me think that this under the radar, sensible draft strategy has definitely helped them get players through the draft that can make a huge impact on the team. An impact that can hopefully take a steadily improving team past the first-round of the playoffs in 2010.