James Lang-US PRESSWIRE
The Bengals have several holes to fill but depending on what happens to Andre Smith, trading back in the draft may be the team's best option.
Before we go any further, let me say this. If the Bengals are unable to re-sign Andre Smith and he signs with another team, the only way to go in the first round of the draft is to select a new right tackle. The draft class at tackle is deep and a guy like D.J. Fluker or Lane Johnson should be available when the Bengals go on the clock at No. 21.
If they are able to bring Smith back into the fold, which would be fantastic, it's a whole new story, though.
The Bengals need a safety, they need a running back, a linebacker, a defensive end, and some depth at several positions, both on offense and defense. While the depth at each of these positions is deep, the Bengals, sitting at No. 21, may be in a position where they'd be reaching for the guys they want and the guys they should take, they don't need. If that's the case, the Bengals would be smart to trade back.
If they do, they could allow a team to move up to No. 21, giving the Bengals an extra pick, possibly as high as a second or third rounder, and let the Bengals slip back into their first-round spot. The Bengals, grabbing the player that they wanted in the first round, would no longer be reaching and they could use the extra pick to fill a position of need.
The Bengals had a great season last year and there's no reason they can't another great on in 2013. However, the things that held the Bengals back in 2012 must be fixed before the upcoming season and since the Bengals don't really have the reputation of signing big-name free agents and they do the majority of their building in the draft. They already have four picks in the first three rounds and a fifth pick in those rounds would only help.
However, like I said earlier, with the talent and depth at the offensive tackle position is too great to pass one up with the No. 21 overall pick. If Smith comes back, which would be the best thing for the Bengals, the possibilities are endless.
A team can't continue to be successful if they allow their best free agents to leave. They can't ever build upon their team because they'll always be replacing the players they continue to lose. Hopefully they can re-sign Smith, even if they have to write the man a big check.
Would you trade back?