Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
We offered evidence that it doesn't always benefit the team to select a running back in the first round and our readers smartly disregarded known history in favor of unknown future.
Look at this. Indirectly though expectedly, we turned Friday into a heavy conversation of running backs while the entire northwest is buried under 16 billion tons of the white stuff. Friday morning we offered an opinion that the Cincinnati Bengals will not select a running back in the first round, and while most agreed, others found our logic faulty. We're cool with that that. But let's take a few comments from that post and clarify our points in a mailbag forum.
"Learn from past mistakes and make the best picks you can. Historic failure doesn’t account for changes in how football works, what teams need, etc..."
Philosophically, that's well said, fantastic ideology to live a very unburdened life. In reality our experiences, including our failures, leave lasting scars and lessons on how to approach similar scenarios next time. In this context, it's Mike Brown, who has been part of the Bengals since the inaugural season with a heavy influence in the personnel decision-making process -- you didn't actually think Mike showed up out of nowhere when his father passed, did you?
He's experienced the first-round failures and the struggles to find an accomodating long-term solution, especially lately with the Bengals relying heavily on free agent running backs and late-round selections (or even undrafted free agents). The team's top-five running backs of all-time is a free agent (Cedric Benson), a trade acquisition (James Brooks), two second rounders (Corey Dillon and Pete Johnson) and a four (Rudi Johnson). You don't think history is impacts Mike Brown's decision making process?
Don't get me wrong. Mad appreciation and respect for those of you that disregard historical blunders conducted by the same owner that was once one of Paul Brown's top personnel guys within the team's front office. And here's hoping that you're right. We'd love for the team to crumble the paper of yesteryear, set that ball of paper aflame and then Walter Bishop those memories. But don't ignore them just because bad history sucks.
"Let’s not kid ourselves and pretend that the more talented backs are still generally not found at the top of the draft in first few rounds."
We're not. In fact we made it a point to specifically reference the first-round. Second round, fine. In fact the Bengals have been far more successful finding running backs in the second. Eliminate the historical references. There's fewer reasons to do it, largely because the investment would offer limited returns, at least initially, due to the Bengals wanting to employ a two-back system -- and how many damned times have they said that and actually followed through. Oh, injury. Yes.
"The league’s best short yardage back? Isn’t that like touting a 38% shooter in basketball for being deadly at layups? 3rd and 1: How manyNFL teams would rather have BJGE over AP or Marshawn Lynch to get that yard? Oh, the fantasies we construct to make us feel better about the Bengals."
BenJarvus Green-Ellis led the NFL with the most third and short conversions in 2012, and it would have been more if not for confusing Jay Gruden passing calls that led to Andy Dalton freaking out under pressure and launching a 60-yard (with the wind) pass several feet over A.J. Green's reach.