Bengals Banter: Smoke Screens, Amobi Okoye And Opening Day

+ IT'S OBVIOUS A SMOKE SCREEN... OR NOT: Recent reports have the Cincinnati Bengals showing increasing interest with Wisconsin center Peter Konz. There's a suspected visit (either that's already happened or scheduled to happen) and more recently the team conducted drills during his personal workout earlier this week. That alone may have forced Tony Pauline with Sports Illustrated to conclude that the Bengals are considering Konz with their No. 21 selection later this month. Or maybe he knows far more than we do by what others have told him.

Or maybe he was baited for a Bengals smoke screen. It's entirely possible.

The smoke screen argument makes sense. If Cordy Glenn and/or David DeCastro are available, we don't see the team even considering Konz, who spent his entire collegiate center as a center; Kyle Cook is signed for another four years and unless they're planning on restructuring or releasing him, this is a wasted pick. There's plenty of examples of the Bengals moving a player out of his natural position to play other needs, which is possible with Konz and available spot at righ guard. Yet save for David Pollack's natural transition in 2005, Cincinnati simply doesn't do that with first-rounders.

On the other hand, NFL teams aren't relying on a reporter's reflection of what a team expects to do. Can you imagine Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome breaking into the war room and shouting, "THE BENGALS MAY OR MAY NOT USE THEIR NO. 21 PICK ON KONZ!" We're fairly certain that teams are smart enough with a full-time personnel department on which players teams are targeting.

Additionally it's quite the smoke screen to host a player and then visit his personal workout. When teams do that, other teams take those same notes and come to those same conclusions. No. The Bengals are clearly interested enough and if the draft breaks down a certain way, Konz could very well be a selection. We honestly don't see it; cornerback, wide receiver, (maybe) linebacker and one of the top offensive guards appear to be settling in as the favorites.

But in the end, it's all conjecture and speculation from people that are itching like an addict to get this draft going.

+ According to a report that Jason promoted on Thursday night, there appears to be a mutual interest between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and free agent defensive tackle Amobi Okoye. First of all we're fairly certain that any unemployed defensive tackle would be interested with any team that's giving him a wink and a nod. Now it's entirely possible that Cincinnati's error with their novelty Novell GroupWise 5.5 calendar system turned the defensive tackle off. But that would be silly.

If Okoye were serious about joining a franchise that elected to scout (we presume) a possible No. 2 wide receiver to help improve the offense, thus their chances scoring points, improving their prospects for winning football games, then he'd understand. And that's entirely possible with the rescheduled visit expected to happen within the next few days. If he felt insulted about the rescheduled visit, then do the Bengals really want that type of personality? We're not talking about a guy on every team's radar during the early hours of the new league year -- this is the 25th day since the start of free agency.

We're not taking anything away from Okoye; it seems like he'd be a good fit with Cincinnati's defensive line as a rotation guy, primarily during passing downs. However before the original visit with Cincinnati was even announced, there weren't many people clamoring for a guy that would be projected as the fourth defensive tackle on the depth chart/rotation.

+ INESCAPEBALE BASEBALL ALERT: The Cincinnati Reds won opening day with a 4-0 win over the Miami Florida Miami Marlins behind great pitching and patience at the plate. For a team that spent more on their payroll this offseason than the New York Yankees, the Miami Marlins were handled easily by two of the best National League Central teams. Reds are off on Friday, set to resume Saturday night with Mat Latos' debut.

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