In 2009 the Bengals used the No. 6 overall pick on right tackle Andre Smith. Over the last four years, Smith has turned into the team's best overall offensive linemen and one of the top right tackles in the league, however, it wasn't an easy task. Smith barely touched the field over his first two seasons and is now an unrestricted free agent who has drawn little interest from outside teams due to his weight issues, his injury history and hit attitude.
The Bengals are attempting to re-sign him, but Smith believes their offer "stinks."
Every year analysts go back and analyze a previous draft, going through and re-selecting for each team after seeing what players have done over the last four years. That's exactly what NFL.com's Elliot Harrison did on Tuesday. Instead of Andre Smith, Harrison selected current Houston Texans running back Arian Foster with the No. 6 overall pick.
6) Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: Andre Smith, OT
Do-over: Arian Foster, RB
Foster, who amazingly went undrafted in 2009, goes sixth overall in the re-draft. Still too low? Well, I have my reasons ... Steven Jackson was outstanding in 2009 for the Rams, Jamaal Charles has been a great pick for the Chiefs, and the Marshawn Lynch deal worked well for the Seahawks. The issue: the Jets. Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene provided a real 1-2 punch for a club that landed in the AFC Championship Game. It's the passing game that's been the HUGE problem. Thus, the Jets snag Harvin, and Foster lands in Cincy, which ultimately makes re-signing Cedric Benson unnecessary. Or, Foster beats out Benson sometime in 2010, allowing the Bengals to shop Benson for extra picks.
The Bengals have been hurting for a running back that could both run between the tackles and catch the ball out of the backfield. They had Benson and now they have BenJarvus Green-Ellis, both short-yardage backs. They're looking for a back to complement Green-Ellis, but if they had Foster there would be no need.
That doesn't mean that Smith wouldn't go in the first round. According to Harrison, he would have the Chargers take Smith with the No. 16 overall pick.
16) San Diego Chargers
Pick: Larry English, LB
Do-over: Andre Smith, OT
Smith has become a quality tackle in the NFL. His presence would have been a luxury during the Marcus McNeill-A.J. Smith contract staredown in 2010 ... and then a necessity when injuries sent McNeill into early retirement. Left tackle has been a tough spot to fill in at The Murph (still can't say Qualcomm). Problem solved.
Another Bengals player was elevated into the first round in Harrison's 2009 draft do-over as well. Michael Johnson, the Bengals' third-round pick in 2009, jumped up over the second round and, in Harrison's draft, would have been selected by the Miami Dolphins at No. 25 overall.
25) Miami Dolphins
Pick: Vontae Davis, CB
Do-over: Michael Johnson, DE
The Dolphins could've stood Johnson up as an OLB in their pressure-based 3-4, where he would've benefitted from the tutelage of both Jason Taylor and Joey Porter. Cameron Wake and Johnson on the edges would make playing the Dolphins not fun.
So, would the Bengals be in better or worse shape had the '09 draft gone down this way?