Will the Cincinnati Bengals take the bold initiative to complete a draft-day trade to 1) move up higher in the first round or 2) fall back a few slots for the acquisition of more picks or 3) fall out of the first round entirely? What if Cincinnati trades one of their own players as a package deal to move around the draft board?
Answers: Doubtful, entirely possible, really don't see it, and it's too late (they don't trade players during the draft... usually well before it).
That's not to say that Cincinnati hasn't traded up before, but it seems that a 20-year old lesson has steadied this possibility from ever happening. Cincinnati traded their No. 5 (first-round) and No. 36 (second round) picks to the Carolina Panthers for the first overall selection prior to the '05 NFL draft. They selected Ki-Jana Carter. You know the rest of that history.
What one should apply, however, is Cincinnati's history during the Marvin Lewis era. They simply do not move up in the first round. Ever. For any reason. If there was a choice between moving up in the draft to prevent the apocalypse and staying put, the Bengals would shrug their shoulders and say, "Sorry." In fact, my confidence is so high that this won't happen, that I'll videotape myself spinning in a circle for 30 seconds while barking like a duck.
The scenario that monopolizes my preference, the safer bet (if you will), is that Cincinnati could swap first-round selections and acquire another third or fourth rounder. They've done it before. Cincinnati (17th overall) swapped first-round picks with the Denver Broncos (24th overall) in '04, then acquired Denver's fourth-round pick (117th overall) and disgruntled cornerback Deltha O'Neal. Cincinnati pressed their luck later, exchanging first round picks with the St. Louis Rams, while bagging St. Louis' fourth-round pick (No. 123).
After twice trading their first-round picks, Cincinnati acquired two fourth-round selections and cornerback Deltha O'Neal; who would earn a Pro Bowl ('06) and currently holds the single-season franchise record with ten interceptions. Of course the biggest knock here is that the Rams drafted Steven Jackson and the Bengals selected Chris Perry. Cincinnati still got three starters (O'Neal, Robert Geathers and Stacy Andrews) and a Pro Bowler (O'Neal) out of it. Not bad. However, that was ten years ago.
More recently, the Bengals and Patriots swapped first-round picks during the '12 NFL draft. Cincinnati also acquired a third-rounder from New England. The Bengals used those picks to snag offensive guard Kevin Zeitler and defensive tackle Brandon Thompson.
We do hypothesize one scenario.
If/when the Texans take South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Houston packages a deal with Cincinnati to move back into the first round. The Texans move ahead of the Browns (at No. 26) -- if Cleveland doesn't go with Johnny Manziel at No. 4 -- by giving Cincinnati their second-round pick (at No. 33), adding a third or fourth this year plus Houston's first-round pick next season. The scenario moves the Bengals out of the first-round, doubling their second and third (or fourth) round selections this year with two first rounders next year. It also allows Houston to get their quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater before Cleveland is on the clock (again, if they don't go Manziel at No. 4).
OK, we don't see it happening either -- especially if the Texans complete a trade for Ryan Mallett. But if a trade scenario comes up, expect something where the Bengals can fall back, especially if they're not comfortable with the value of the players on their board when their close to a selection.
Either way, if we're placing a Kentucky Downs style bet on what the Bengals will do, we're putting the house on Cincinnati holding station at No. 24.