Bengals could benefit if Pierre-Paul falls in the draft

A couple days ago, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio wrote that several teams are growing concerned about South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Florio writes, "we're told that multiple teams have concerns regarding Pierre-Paul based on his interviews, which have featured at times nonsensical answers to fairly basic questions." How you articulate the method in which you're going to beat the crap out of Ben Roethlisberger or Joe Flacco isn't really that big of a deal to the Bengals coaching staff.

It's known that the Bengals have expressed interest in Pierre-Paul, showing up for South Florida's Pro Day and then hosting the defensive end two days later in Cincinnati. Considered by ESPN to be the second-best defensive end prospect, Pierre-Paul would create a terrifying collection of defensive ends within the Bengals rotation. Strong against the run, Robert Geathers would likely be rotated out during passing situations; especially long third down scenarios when pass rushers can pin their ears, eat saw dust and maybe even force Iran to stop nuclear arms production.

All of that is speculation, of course. A lot of what Cincinnati has to deal with at defensive end is suspect, and probably the biggest question mark with the defense heading into training camp. Can Antwan Odom return at full health? Will Michael Johnson improve upon his three-sack performance in 2009? Can the Bengals create matchup problems with the opposing tackles? Can the linebackers and the secondary put themselves in position to pick off passes because the quarterback panics with bad throws after hearing Johnson, Odom or Pierre-Paul growling?

While the Bengals do need an infusion of new talent on the offensive side, improving the defense could be just as critical, facing some of the league's best passing teams in 2010. And since teams aren't satisfied with his answers during questions -- where Pierre-Paul is asked non-football questions and each response ends with "kill the quarterback" ala Homer Simpson lacking Duff beer -- the Bengals could be put in the position to take him.

To see which prospects the Bengals have reported interest in, check out our chart.

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