Now that the draft is right around the corner (ONE MORE DAY!!!), most mock drafts have the Cincinnati Bengals selecting Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green with the No. 4 overall pick, and the ones that don't, have them selecting Missouri Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
In reality, neither pick would really be that big of a surprise to me. The Bengals could really use a wide receiver of Green's caliber to secure the position for the next few seasons, and everybody knows that they need a quarterback. However, the Bengals may be looking in another direction when it comes to their first-round draft pick, and that direction is Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley. It seems as though the Bengals have sent defensive line coach, John Hayes, to take a last-minute look at Fairley.
Bengals D-Line coach spotted flying out of Mobile, AL. Home of DT Nick Fairley. Possible trade down option? Or possibility at No. 4 overall?
If the Bengals don't like the idea of drafting a wide receiver or reaching for a quarterback with the No. 4 overall selection, they may turn to the position that has more talent than any other in this year's draft class: defensive line. Marcell Dareus will likely be off the board by the time the Bengals go on the clock and that would leave Fairley as the next best defensive lineman.
Fairley, who completely dominated Oregon during the BCS National Championship Game, made every Bengals fan salivate at the thought of a defensive lineman with an attitude that only the fans of his team would love. He seems like the kind of player, like Troy Polamalu and Rey Lewis, that Bengals players would love and the fans of the other teams in the division would love to hate. His attitude and his style of play would add a much needed "spark" to the Bengals defense.
Fairley, as a defensive lineman, may be the safest pick the Bengals could make in the first round, aside from trading down for more picks. Selecting a quarterback that high would be a reach and most people would agree that selecting a wide receiver that high isn't usually a good idea since a wide receiver, regardless of how good they are, are involved in plays less than any other player on the field.
However, is the defensive line a position that the Bengals need enough to draft as high as No. 4. After all, Robert Geathers, Antwan Odom, Michael Johnson, Frostee Rucker, Carlos Dunlap, Tank Johnson, Clinton McDonald, Victor Adeyanju, Domata Peko, Pat Sims and Geno Atkins are all under contract for the 2011 season and eight of the 13 are under contract for the 2012 season as well. If the lack of free agency is going to make the Bengals select what they need the most, would that be a defensive lineman?
In reality, nobody really has any clue about what's going to happen when the Bengals go on the clock to make the fourth overall pick. They could go for Fairley as easily as Green or Gabbert. Who really knows?