Roundtable: Draft Picks, Pass Rushers And Offensive Line

USA TODAY Sports

We sat down to discuss our favorite and least favorite draft picks, how many pass rushers are too many and the state of the Bengals' offensive line.

Which was your favorite draft pick for the Bengals and your least favorite?

B. Clifton B. Favorite: Margus Hunt. First off, the fact he is from a rather obscure European country makes him interest. Next, his physical abilities are insane. He's really tall, is faster the Tyler Eifert, strong like bull, and adds to a deadly rotation of pass rushers. I love the fact that the defense has dedicated itself to getting after the QB. It reminds me of the NYG when they made their Super Bowl run. Zimmer and crew have made it clear that you can't have too many pass rushers and Hunt is a luxury that isn't needed immediately but could be groomed into an absolute monster.
Least favorite: Tanner Hawkinson. Not sure we needed another tackler. Would have liked to see a center picked if any linemen were to going to be selected. Seems like he's an athletic guy but has strength concerns. Bad division to have strength concerns.

Lucas G. My favorite pick was easily Gio Bernard. I was incredibly nervous that the Bengals would take Lacy at 37 and was very happy that they went with Gio instead. The Bengals haven't really had a dynamic, pass-catching running back since 2005 with Chris Perry, and it's a dimension that this offense has sorely lacked since then. I think he complements Green-Ellis perfectly and will step in on day one and contribute. My least favorite is a little tricky. At the time, I was very nonplussed with the Eifert pick. I had my mind set on safety and got a little too swept up in the Cyprien buzz. It never even occurred to me to add another tight end, but in hindsight, the pick is great. Eifert is another playmaker for Dalton and should prove to be a chess piece of sorts, playing in multiple spots on the offense. So I guess I took a cop out on the least favorite pick!
Jason G. I gotta say I agree with Mojo when it comes to my favorite pick. Margus Hunt is an incredible athlete and he's just learning the game of football. Because of that, the sky's the limit for Hunt. He could really turn out to be one of the most productive Bengals pass rushers of all time. Hawkinson may be my least favorite as well just because I they could have used help at another position and they ended up getting Reid Fragel in the seventh round. There was no way to know that at the time, though, so no big deal.

Is it possible that the Bengals have too many pass-rushers? I mean, have the sacrificed other positions to strengthen just this one defensive facet?

Jason G. When it comes to having too many pass rushers, I don't think it's possible. With the way the NFL has become a passing league, the more capable pass rushers you have, the better the defense as a whole will be. And defense wins championships. Or at least they used to.

Lucas G. I don't think there is such a thing as too many pass rushers. The way the game of football is evolving, rushing the passer has eclipsed stopping the run in importance. That said, I think the Bengals have done a fine job of marrying the two concepts. None of our pass rushers are particularly weak against the run. Even the rookie Hunt has the potential to do both for the Bengals. He can bench a damn freight train!
B. Clifton B. I say no. It being a "passing league" there are really only two ways to stop other offenses. Cover well, or get after the passer. Last year in the stretch of wins midseason, the line was snacking on quarterbacks, getting tons of hits if not outright sacks. Maybe some younger guys like Hunt may have slower development with so many veterans in front of him, but in general, teams who hang their hats in one area typically see some immediate improvements as a result. The bengals found that this is a major strength and they beefed it up rather than try and distribute the talent evenly across the defense.

I have concerns about the offensive line. Do you guys?

Jason G. I don't actually. I think with Andre Smith back, Kevin Zeitler entering his second year and with Clint Boling with more experience and Kyle Cook healthy and even with Travelle Wharton back in the fold to add competition, the Bengals line will be just as good, if not better, than they were in 2012.
Lucas G. Less so now that they've re-signed Andre Smith, but I do worry about how much longer Whit can hold up. He's had a couple of nagging injuries the past few seasons and while Collins can probably fill in for him if needed, he's no Whitworth.
B. Clifton B. I thought Whit had a decline last year. I like Boling but need him to be more consistent. Wharton is still a mystery as a Bengal. Trevor Robinson is good, but Kyle Cook's presence keeps him out of the lineup. I think Cook has slipped significantly. Andre Smith had a good year, and I like Zeitler a lot, but they have to be a consistent unit. Dalton needs more comfort than most quarterbacks to be at his best, it seems.

Lucas G. Definitely. I don't know if he just didn't trust the line last year, but he seemed a lot jumpier in the pocket than during his rookie year.
B. Clifton B. I agree strongly with this, Lucas. And that is another concern. I felt the same about Palemr. Early on, he was a mobile and more wiley, but the coaches seemed to sap any improvising from him. The same can be seen from Dalton. It could be a matter of Gruden adding more to the offense and forcing Dalton to think more than just play, but whatever the reason, Dalton actually lost some pocket presence in year two.

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