One week until training camp, Bengal fans…. Hang in there.
In doing a little nfl.com vid watching to ease the pain of football withdrawal, I started thinking about what type of impact our rookie class will have on the 2010 season. In my efforts to separate myself from my homerish optimism, I think the Bengals first five draft selections will contribute this season. To be specific, I look at potential improvements in 3rd Down efficiency.
Offensively, Palmer now has a pair of legitimate threats in between the hashes. Jordan Shipley excels at route running, while Jermaine Gresham is a severe mismatch for most defenders which he will face. The openings for Palmer potentially double, due to limitations of brackets and double teams, by way of the sidelines or in between the hashes. Any of Ocho, Bryant, Gresham or Shipley will present an open target for the god of the golden arms. (if not, Brian Leonard will just keep jumping over everyone (1:55), which is also fine by me)
Looking at the Defense - my favorite squadron in the entire universe – a pair of QB-killas joins the D-Line rotation with the selections of Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins. Mike Zimmer has put a major emphasis on interior pass rush (“let’s try to get some f**** rush on this guy” 1:33) In 2009, we mostly saw Michael Johnson on 3rd Down as well. In addition to the pass rushers, Brandon Ghee – the fastest CB in the draft – provides help with deep-zone coverage, and a potential extra blitzer used much like Morgan Trent was last season.
As for the rest of the draft picks, I mostly see them getting work on special teams. But who knows, it seems like there’s a surprise star from the late round or CFA every season… however, the team has never been this deep before.
Let’s debate, HuDey!