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Football Outsiders: Bengals didn't add enough defense

Football Outsiders, as per their usual quality, provided a post-draft analysis saying the team didn't "add enough" defense. Like many of us, they questioned the reasoning for drafting Jeff Rowe.

Character carried the days for the Bengals, who took a cornerback first for the second straight year in Michigan’s Leon Hall. Add Hall to Johnathan Joseph in the secondary, heat, and serve, is Cincinnati’s hope. Hall may not unseat Deltha O’Neal this year, but if not he will learn as a nickel back and take over soon.

"Solid, productive, not flashy but effective," is part of how the Bengals’ website summed up the draft, and although that may be just what the doctor (and lawyers) ordered after a tumultuous season in the police blotter, Cincinnati also didn’t add enough to a defense that was hurting last season and lost guys like Brian Simmons and Kevin Kaesviharn.

They did find a playmaker in Auburn running back Kenny Irons in the second round, and if you want to get technical, they spent their third-round pick last year on Ahmad Brooks, who may start at linebacker this season. Fourth-round free safety Marvin White of TCU is being touted as a big hitter.

The head-scratchingest move, for some, was the pick of Nevada quarterback Jeff Rowe in the fifth round, given the presence of Carson Palmer. The Matt Schaub story shows that the upside on Rowe is if he develops and Palmer stays in place, a breaking-through quarterback like Rowe can be very valuable in trade.

Remaining Needs

Linebacker was a definite need that went unaddressed in the draft, but the Bengals have signed Ed Hartwell to a one-year deal after he flamed out in Atlanta. They are also high on an undrafted free-agent linebacker they brought in (see below), which is a testament to their scouting and also Cincinnati’s bevy of job openings.

Defensive tackle was touched on in the draft by sixth-rounder Matt Toeaina of Oregon, but Sam Adams, Michael Myers, and company might not be good enough.

Undrafted Free Agents

Florida weakside linebacker Earl Everett was rated higher in some quarters than Antwan Barnes, the Ravens’ fourth-round pick. BYU tight end Daniel Coats, if he can get time away from the family (the 23-year-old is married with three kids), could pitch in at an area of weakness. And from the all-name team, Missouri defensive end Xzavie Jackson was rated on some draft boards, as was Hawaii offensive tackle Dane Uperesa.