It’s an age-old question which fields different results. For the Cincinnati Bengals, do they go offense or defense in the first round of the NFL Draft?
Aside from the very few who made their bones on special teams – such as Baltimore Ravens’ John Harbaugh – each NFL head coach has come fron either the offensive or defensive side of the ball.
Due to that specific familiarity, the early rounds of the NFL Draft can be difficult to navigate through.
The coaching staff, general manager, head scouts and ownership need to come together with a general consensus for their big board. Where a coach like Buffalo’s Rex Ryan might want to draft a pure pass rusher in the first round, a general manager like Atlanta’s Thomas Dimitroff would love to look at it with more of a positional need in mind.
The first round is especially tough considering how many different directions one could travel in.
It’s the question we’ve come to know and love every time spring rolls around: which side of the ball will your favorite team draft in the first-round?
It’s interesting. Many believe this team won’t be able to move forward until quarterback Andy Dalton magically figures out his big game woes. Sporting a record of 3-11 in his 14 primetime and playoff games so far in his career, who could argue?
Although Dalton always passes the regular season test, he seems to wildly disappoint every postseason opportunity he gets. Their 26-10 convincing loss to Andrew Luck‘s Indianapolis Colts last January yet again fleeced this group the chance of their first playoff victory.
Still, Lewis, the defensive-minded character that he is, feels his defense was the main culprit against the Colts a little more than three-months ago. When asked about his 0-6 playoff record this week’s owners meetings in Arizona, Lewis responded with his own version of responsibility.
"“Frankly, we haven’t won a playoff game because we didn’t play well enough on defense.”"
His words back up the organization’s actions. Of the 12 players the Bengals have either signed or tendered this offseason, eight of them play defense. Defensive end Michael Johnson, defensive tackle Pat Sims and inside linebacker A.J. Hawk are three of them.
Bengals Depth Chart:
Drafting out of the 21st spot in the first round, the franchise could go in a number of different directions:
Top Team Needs:
- Offensive Tackle
- Interior Defensive Line
This is where the offense versus defense argument really takes a hold.
With left tackle Andrew Whitworth nearing 34 years old and right-tackle Andre Smith not living up to his first-round status, Dalton’s edge presence is slowly fading. Due to the fact Dalton’s emotional fragility is still up for question, cementing those bookend linemen could easily be priority number-one.
Elsewhere, Domata Peko is coming off a 2014 which saw rapid decline. Especially in a Marvin Lewis defense, the nose tackle out of the 4-3 scheme remains an crucial component (hello Sam Adams in front of Ray Lewis in 2000).
Jan 4, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterbackAndy Dalton
(14) against the Indianapolis Colts during the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The positional needs on both sides of the ball are obviously evident.
In fact, in which direction to go in is too close a call. It should, and will, come down to the best player available on the big board. The prime suspects are offensive tackles Ereck Flowers and Andrus Peat, defensive lineman Arik Armstead.
Later in they’ll look for a slot type wide-receiver to go along with the tall, lanky ones the Bengals already possess.
In the current spot the franchise is in, they cannot go wrong with filling any of these team needs.
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