The title kind of seems like a "no duh" statement. We've been talking about the team's need at guard, running back and wide receiver way back in the middle of the 2011 season and even before. However, this time, it's directly from the horse's mouth. The horse is offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.
Gruden knows what his offense's weaknesses are and he knows what the Bengals need to do to fix those weaknesses. He believes that selecting a top-end running back, guard and wide receiver could go a long way for the Bengals in 2012 and beyond.
"With the running back situation the way it is we need to address it if there's a top of a line guy there," Gruden said. "What's exciting about the backs is I think there are a number of them that can come in here and help out a lot.
"Obviously guard is important. The left guard, right guards are free agents. (Mike) McGlynn is a free agent. So it's important for us to get a young, talented guy at guard. I know it's not the most popular thing to do all the time to draft a guard. 'Oh gee, a guard.' But if it’s a guy that can start here for a long time and play every offensive snap, it's important. So I would say guard, back and then obviously always looking for a receiver."
Many believe that Trent Richardson will fall to the Bengals in the first round and if that happens, I would think, based off of Gruden's comments, the Bengals wouldn't pass him up. However, if he's not available, it's nice to know that the team knows there are other running backs capable of getting the job done.
Before you get too excited about a running back, though, remember the team needs somebody to block for a new running back. Marvin Lewis stated earlier that he didn't feel that guard is as much of a need as many think it is, but Gruden obviously feels otherwise, which I think is a good thing. Even if the team re-signs Bobbie Williams or Nate Livings, neither of those players have the capability to be a long-term answer at guard. With as deep as the draft class is at guard this year, I think it's a perfect time to draft a good interior lineman.
And then there's wide receiver. Some believe this is just as big of a need as running back and guard, but I have to disagree. I do know that the team needs a new No. 2 receiver, but I think they can find a suitable player in free agency or maybe even in the fourth or fifth round of the draft. That may just be me, though.
It's nice to see a Bengals coach agree with what we have been saying for a long time, though. Lewis has always been more guarded when he makes statements about the team's status or their plans. Having Gruden around is a breath of fresh air.