The NFL is a passing league and there isn't a single football fan that can possibly argue against that fact. While there are successful teams that know how to run the ball, play tough defense and not much else, in the end, the teams that win the Super Bowl know how to move the ball down the field through the air. The 2009 Bengals are a prime example. They went 10-6 through the regular season, sweeping one of the toughest divisions in the league, but in the end they were knocked out of the playoffs because they couldn't throw the ball.
While the Bengals need a new No. 2 receiver to help their offense, they also need a cornerback to prevent teams from moving the ball down the field on the air against them. After all, defense wins games.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis knows this. He knows the Bengals are in need of a new cornerback, especially to replace Johnathan Joseph, who they let slip through their fingers, and this draft is a perfect time for them to find somebody.
"I've always been of the opinion that corner's a very important position. When you look at the percentage of offense you face these days that's at least three wide receivers, it's probably upward of 60, almost 70 percent. Some teams, it's 80 percent. So you're going to find that. You've got to win on third down. You've got to win at the end of the game when you're ahead. When you're behind, you've got to get them stopped on third down. So yeah, having the corners that can play is a very important part of your football team. A couple of years ago, we felt like we had enough that we could trade one away (CB David Jones, traded to Jacksonville before the start of the 2010 season), and we ended up signing two during the week (later in the season) and starting one in the game on Thursday night. So that tells you how quickly that your perceived depth can change. That's how important they are."
If that's not a sign that the Bengals are going to do what they can to draft a cornerback with one of their first-round picks, I don't know what is. He's absolutely right too. When push comes to shove and the Bengals are ahead by a few points or behind, the defense needs to show up and give the offense a chance to win.
The best way to do that is to pair the team's best corner, Leon Hall, with one of the best corners in this year's draft. The two that have been mocked to the Bengals the most are South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore and Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick. Either one could become the new Johnathan Joseph and even though the Bengals have about 100 corners on the roster, they would likely make an immediate impact on the team.
The draft is right around the corner as we're just two days away from watching the Bengals make their two first-round selections at No. 17 and No. 21. As the only corners that will be on the roster (who are worth mentioning) are Jason Allen and Leon Hall, drafting a corner in the first round makes too much sense.
However, we've all been thrown curveballs before.