Some may disagree, but I think in the playoff game we saw just how much more talented most playoffs teams still are over the Bengals. Houston was better at most positions on the field. Better Oline in the run blocking game. Better running backs. Better defensive backs. A Dline that may not be more talented, but that played better. Faster linebackers.
While I'm proud of the direction the Bengals are going, and while we definitely are a better team then we have been in recent memory, we still have a ways to go. The problem, however, is that we still need to upgrade in so many spots, that the draft alone isn't going to cover it. Until we can hand pick a couple of FA's and actually convince them to sign with us, we are going to struggle catching up with teams like Houston, NE, Pitt, Baltimore, and a few others that will likely pass us again next season.
While I consider myself a big time Bengals fan, I do not follow them, or the NFL in general, like I do other sports. I don't know if simply opening Mike Brown's wallet is enough, or if we need things like the indoor practice facility. But whatever it is, it needs to happen soon. We have a solid base on this roster, a base that should keep us out of top 10 draft picks going forward. As such, signing quality, in some cases, star free agents is a must.
I'd like to see us hit CB, Oline, and RB with our first three picks, but a lot of that will depend on BPA. We aren't good enough to draft simply to need, in most cases, we need to grab the best player on the board. That leaves several areas we can still improve on via free agency. We need to upgrade the WR spot away from Green. There are plenty of options out there, that have been outlined in other posts in recent weeks. We could sign another Oline player, and upgrade two spots this offseason. We probably need to upgrade the secondary further. Are we expecting Hall back? I'd like to let Jones walk, but to do that, we probably need to add at least two quality CB's this offseason, assuming we keep Hall. I also wasn't overly impressed with our LB's yesterday. Houston's seemed so much quicker to the ball. Probably low priority, but an upgrade there would be nice too.
In summary, I think in order to get to the point to where we legitimately have a good shot at advancing in the playoffs, we have to increase our roster talent by free agency, as doing so in the draft simply isn't enough.