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Bengals Banter: Why I don't think the Bengals will draft a tight end in the first round

Would you trade for the first overall draft pick? Reports are surfacing that the St. Louis Rams are considering trading their first overall draft pick for the accumulation of additional draft picks to help out several areas on the team's roster. This isn't surprising. Whether it's made public or not, you get the feeling that most teams would dump their first overall draft pick if they're not seeking a franchise-level quarterback. With exploding rookie salaries, can you blame them? Matthew Stafford, last year's first overall draft pick, signed a deal that guaranteed him $41.7 million. Jake Long signed a deal for $30 million guaranteed -- Matt Ryan, that year's third overall draft pick signed for $34.75 million guaranteed. JaMarcus Russell, the 2007 first overall draft pick, signed a contract that gave him $32 million guaranteed (how's that going for Oakland?).

With cost alone, who in their right mind would want possession of the first overall draft pick?

Why I don't think the Bengals will draft a tight end in the first round. Since 2003, the Bengals most productive tight end in the passing game was Reggie Kelly in 2008, recording 31 receptions. In his six seasons with the Bengals, he's scored three touchdowns and has never recorded more than 254 yards receiving. In fact, during the Marvin Lewis era, Matt Schobel has had the most span as a Bengals tight end -- 332 yards receiving in 2003 and seven touchdowns from 2003 until 2005.

It's not much. Not much at all. But you could argue that the Bengals just haven't had the talent for a tight end that's explosive in the passing game. True. But I counter this: when did the Bengals ever attempt to find a tight end explosive enough in the passing game? Chase Coffman is the best example that comes to mind; even he is a bad example because he didn't make the field once.

This goes back to a belief I have about the team's offensive philosophy. Tight ends are blockers who can run short routes as a hot read, or as a last option. Furthermore, Cincinnati has always favored wide receivers. As long as the Bengals are redefining themselves as a run first offense, there's no reason to believe that the Bengals will acquire anyone that puts their overall ability to block in doubt. Being an explosive tight end isn't a necessity -- it's a icing on the cake.

Julius Peppers could be a free agent. If Carolina elects not to put the franchise tag on Julius Peppers by Thursday, then the defensive end would become a free agent when it kicks off in early March. Even though they're not mentioned as being interested, if you were the Bengals general manager, would you take a look at adding Peppers to the mix?

Obviously cost is a factor, which would likely eliminate the Bengals from any thought of talking with Peppers. Furthermore, Cincinnati has Antwan Odom, Robert Geathers and Michael Johnson, all of whom are pass rushing specialists. Don't forget about Jonathan Fanene, who impresses me every time he plays with a good balance against the run and the pass. And when Frostee Rucker plays, he's shown to have flashes of production. On the other hand, none of those players are close to the caliber of Julius Peppers. Make a run for feelers or would you pass?