The question about Dez Bryant right now is this: if he's there, do you take him? Why do we ask about such silly things? Especially now, when the topic has been raised several times. Fine, don't answer it. You've probably made the choice up in your mind and like most of you, expressed that in other posts. Earlier this week, it was reported that Bryant will visit with the Bengals. We didn't know when. And after what was reported as an average workout that, if anything, made Bryant available with the Bengals 21st pick all the more possible. Have you read the mock drafts? Notice how Bryant is falling, falling, falling?
I like the idea personally. I like the idea of our passing offense having a trio of threats at wide receiver, reminiscent of the days with Chad Ochocinco, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry. In fact, it makes me giddy. We have the league's fourth best defense from last year with our starters returning. With eight more picks in the NFL Draft and most experts claiming this to be a defensive-heavy draft, we can still improve those spots. But a top prospect at wide receiver playing as the team's third receiver in three-wide formations? I'm giddy. Think of it. Chad finds himself increasingly back in single-coverage. With the team's rushing offense, play-action becomes twice as nasty. We could actually be where we thought we should have been in 2005 when we were excited about the team's future that went nowhere. Except this time, you get the feeling that our foundation and core is far stronger. Repeat champions, this time with a killer passing offense again? I'm to the point that I don't just think we will, I'm starting to expect it. Is that right? Yea, I'm giddy.
But I'm giddy at the idea of Bryant, not necessarily the fact that there's several weeks to go before the thought will even take form. And there's always the very likely chance that Bryant is drafted before the Bengals 21st overall pick. Teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted Bryant. Dallas, who is interested, could always jump over the Bengals in a draft-day trade. The Miami Dolphins, who pick 12th, are going to meet with the receiver.
And there's the whole questionable character thing that's been brought up. Most of you guys know me. I put far less value on "character" than most. I'm not talking about guys that break the law and run the risk of being suspended by the NFL. Obviously if you can't trust players to make the right decisions, worried that they'll miss critical division games because they're suspended, then they're not worth taking a flyer on -- especially if you're using the draft pick for a spot on the roster that's critical. Does Bryant fall in that category?
Charles Robinson writes.
At first, the grumbling about him amongst talent evaluators made you think about Michael Crabtree(notes) last season. But Bryant’s buzz definitely seems worse in recent days. Failing to take part in the NFL scouting combine rubbed some the wrong way. And personnel departments were already touting stories about Bryant’s tardiness in college when the news came out that he was staging his own “private” one-man pro day. That move wasn’t exactly well-received in some league corners, and it didn’t get much better when he produced a less than stellar workout, forgetting a pair of preferred cleats and clocking around 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Add in his lengthy suspension his last season at Oklahoma State for lying to the NCAA, and you have enough red flags to line the United Nations. Not to mention a perceived top 7 status that is slipping into the 20s.
I like Charles Robinson, but aren't we getting a little full with ourselves? OK, forgetting a pair of cleats on a day that you're basically interviewing for a job doesn't bode well. I get that. But is the risk within the team, or just the player? Lying to the NCAA? Have you seen their standards and over-zealous rules? They're unforgiving and if you admit to anything, you'll face a suspension or your school faces penalties anyway. In a way, the NCAA promotes lying, especially when when you lied about your interaction with Deion Sanders. Big deal, right? Late to class? Who hasn't done that? Are we looking for academia or professional football players? So he elects to have a private workout rather than take part in the Combine. Again, what's the risk to the team? We're Bengals fans. We know red flags when we see them. Bryant isn't a red flag.