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Draft Spurs Competition on Defensive Line

One of the many benefits of having the fourth best defense in the NFL is you go into the NFL Draft not necessarily desperate to fill a position. Anybody you draft adds depth and gives the team a bright future. This year, the Bengals drafted defensive tackle Geno Atkins, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, Cornerback Brandon Ghee and linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy. The Bengals weren't really desperate for a defensive lineman, end, linebacker or cornerback but that doesn't mean that the guys they got in the draft won't make a big impact.

Hobson says that Atkins and Dunlap have added strength and quickness to the defensive line, but even though they look good, it doesn't mean that they'll push the veterans out of their positions.

There has been some buzz about how quick and strong the defensive line looks with the addition of the two draft picks, second-rounder Carlos Dunlap and fourth-rounder Geno Atkins. Both look to be primed, at some point, to pass-rush inside out of the nickel, but defensive line coach Jay Hayes is quick to remind people that his veterans aren’t going to be moved easily.

He’s already got some productive and active guys in there like and Jon Fanene, and when right end Antwan Odom (Achilles) gets back on the field the Bengals like to move him inside, too, on passing downs.

The Bengals have done well at adding depth to an already solid group of guys. Last year the Bengals sacked the opposing quarterback 34 times. 34 sacks is good, much better than the 17 sacks they had in the 2008 season, but it isn't as good as it could be. Having Odom back, Michael Johnson being in his second season with a year under his belt and adding guys like Dunlap and Atkins to the mix could potentially put the Bengals defense in the upper 40's sack range as long as everybody stays healthy.

Coincidentally, the upper 40's sack range for a defense is also quarterback's worst nightmare range. It would be nice to know that the Bengals defense could replace Freddie Krueger in the dreams of Roethlisberger, Flacco and whatever quarterback will be helping the Browns lose this year. I see a new Michael Bay sequel in the works. I hope I get royalties.