Draft priorities, senior bowl; Friday morning links and notes

ESPN's James Walker writes that it might not be a bad position to fill if the Bengals draft a defensive linemen. This is in response to the Boston College defensive tackles that are impressing the hell out of everyone in Mobile, Alabama. We disagree with this sentiment. If we were to make a list of priority of the positions that the Bengals should address, it would look something like this.

  1. Offensive Tackle
  2. Center
  3. Middle Linebacker
  4. Defensive End
  5. Defensive Tackle

I think it's becoming too easy to disregard just how broken our offensive line was for a majority of 2008. We're not forgetting that the line improved towards the end, enabling a quality rushing attack during a three-game winning streak to close the season. There's also much in the way of unknowns that needs to be addressed to clarify a player that would fill a spot for the team, immediately helping in 2009. Granted, Walker didn't really talk about the first pick, and the Bengals will likely have more than the standard seven after seeing several free agents go last off-season. However, the Bengals are likely looking at three options for offensive tackles.

  1. What to do with Levi Jones?
  2. Anthony Collins -- left tackle or right tackle?
  3. Andrew Whitworth -- move to tackle?

Anyone of the above scenarios could lower the need to draft an offensive tackle, and Levi Jones is just as likely to return than not. Perhaps he returns healthy, plays the bulk of the season, goes back to being an annual Pro Bowl alternate. I'm not sold, however, on the wait and see approach (see: running backs, pre-season, 2008). If the Bengals can shuffle stability at tackle, allowing the team to pick up a fifth defensive player in the past five first rounds, I wouldn't have a problem with that, provided Lewis and the staff plan it all out, with, I don't know, a well placed backup plan.

Don Banks mocks the Bengals selecting Brian Orakpo, defensive end from Texas.

When the impressed become the impressionable. Carlos Holmes of Big C Pro Football and Dayton Daily News is impressed with Marvin Lewis and the coaching staff, saying "The Bengals staff prepared the unit as if they where preparing for the Super Bowl." Players, who will be playing at the Senior Bowl this Saturday on NFL Network, are impressed. Virginia running back Cedric Peerman said of running backs coach Jim Anderson.

"It's an honor being coached by coach Anderson," Peerman said. "He's been around the game a long time and there's not a better guy out there. I'm actually thankful to learn from him. He encourages you to play hard and is the ultimate motivator. I'm just out here taking it all in."

Holmes said of Lewis and the staff running the North team:

In my seven years of covering the event, I have never seen anything like it, even when the Bengals coached here in 2004. Take nothing away from the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff that coached the South squad, but they were simply outdone.

There's one University of Cincinnati player that's drawing attention, tight end/defensive end/punt blocking specialist Connor Barwin, who some are comparing as a Mike Vrabel type. Marvin Lewis said of Barwin, "He's got a Justin Smith motor and he's a better athlete."

A sign of a good bye? In yesterday's link to the BC defensive tackles in the Dayton Daily News, Carlos Holmes writes that there's been no discussions between the Bengals and the representatives of center Eric Ghiaciuc.

More, more, more.

Carson Palmer's New Years Resolution is to stop watching reality television.

One site isn't sure whether to call Leon Hall a beast, or a bust.

Another prediction that the Bengals will make the playoffs in 2009. How is that, you say? They argue Palmer's return, an improving defense expected to get even better, Cedric Benson, the draft (which clearly the Bengals could use for several spots if they so choose), wide receivers, momentum and a soft schedule. Are you convinced?

I seriously doubt Houshmandzadeh liked this satire.

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