An interesting idea, albeit belatedly, took form this week. What if the Bengals elect to trade their first round pick? Now, let me preface this by saying I don't think Cincinnati is actively looking to trade out of the first round. However, would it be too surprising if the Bengals accepted a trade offer, moved out of the first round to pick up another second round pick and perhaps a third-round pick? This blogger thinks it could happen.
Could I be grasping at straws? Perhaps. It's not the first time, right?
This goes back to Lewis' predraft press conference last Friday, in which he states that the Bengals aren't really looking for starters, per se.
“We’re not going into the draft saying, ‘We have an empty chair at one particular spot,' ” Lewis said. “We’re kind of letting the draft board pick our player and obviously we’ll address some areas as we go through the draft based on what occurs in the first round.”
Everything here Lewis says is true. The team isn't in a position that they have one particular position in which they desperately need to address in the first round, hoping to find an immediate starter. Realistically speaking, of course. Tight End? Sure. Keep in mind the Bengals have drafted a first round Tight End once in franchise history -- Mike Cobb, 22nd overall in the 1977 NFL Draft. And Cobb recorded zero receptions before leaving for the Chicago Bears in 1978. But admittedly, it's enough of a need to keep the Bengals in the 21st spot -- that is if you don't subscribe to the theory that the Bengals would waste a pick on a position that they don't use much of anyway. This argument obviously depends on other factors, such as the availability of Dez Bryant, or Earl Thomas, or even Mike Iupati -- then again, the Bengals have never drafted a guard in the first round.
During the same press conference, the Bengals head coach spoke at length about more trades being dealt during this year's draft, thanks to the two-day event becoming a three-day event.
“There may be more of that because teams would have more of an opportunity to look at that,” he said. “I think two teams don’t have first-round picks. It gives them a chance to go into the second round and say, ‘Maybe we need to make sure to get up and get a particular guy.’ ... Maybe there’s more time to bargain to give up something down the line. Maybe more player trades because it takes a little longer to get player trades done because there is (more) time from one night to the next evening than we’ve seen in the past.
“I don’t think you want to alter it,” said Lewis of his team’s board during the gap between the first and second rounds. “I think you have a chance to re-look. ‘Boy, nobody thought this guy was going to be sitting there.’ Kind of what you did in the past at the start of the fourth. ... Probably overthink it, overanalyze it. Probably not the best thing to do.”
Finally, if the Bengals elect to trade out of the first round, they can do it knowing that this year's draft class is considered one of the deepest classes in years, affording them very limited talent degradation in rounds outside of the first. Charley Casserly, former general manager, says "this is the best first round I've seen since 1983." Casserly isn't the first to make similar remarks.
So to recap. The Bengals aren't looking to fill empty chairs, Lewis acknowledges that trades will be up this year and the NFL is seeing perhaps the best incoming draft class in years.
If anything, it makes you think. Like mentioned earlier in the post, I don't believe that the Bengals are actively looking to trade -- they appear to be in "ride the wave" mode right now. But come 15th pick, one team behind them wishes to make a move for a player that they covet, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Bengals moved out of the first round.