During his predraft press conference on Tuesday, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis hinted that the Bengals may use this year's draft not to just fill immediate needs, but to anticipate needs beyond this year as well. When asked during the press conference how much of a balancing act it is to draft for current needs and those that will develop beyond this year, Lewis said:
You have to look a year or two down the road. I think that’s important. What we want to do is fill some immediate opportunity with the veteran guys we brought in, which still kept the future open. I think that’s good.
We have to believe that his reference has much to do with the team's cornerback position. Three signed during the offseason, a recovering Leon Hall and an aging Nate Clements adds to the overall conclusion that Cincinnati will draft a cornerback this year. Perhaps someone like Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick or South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore would see limited playing time, but a prospect cornerback helps the team's long-term vision as an eventual starter.
Or maybe linebacker. Dontay Moch and Roddrick Muckelroy are the only linebackers signed into the 2013 season. An early-round linebacker prospect would be given time to groom under Mike Zimmer and linebackers coach Paul Guenther, easing into the defense as an eventual starter, and currently a tremendous backup.
Or maybe both. One of our earliest predictions is that the Bengals may draft two defensive players in the first round.