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Cincinnati Bengals Top Offseason Priority: Re-sign Cedric Benson

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CINCINNATI OH - DECEMBER 19:  Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on December 19 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI OH - DECEMBER 19: Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on December 19 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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In a Pro Football Talk report that the Cincinnati Bengals had Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas slated as their third round pick, it generates the most obvious conclusion. Since the Miami Dolphins traded ahead of the Bengals into the second round, selecting Thomas, the Bengals finished draft weekend without their feature back. Thus Cedric Benson is most definitely one of the Bengals top priorities this offseason when the new league year begins and contracts can be signed.

According to the Mothership, the Bengals top priority is going to be re-signing Cedric Benson.

When things get going, Lewis indicated the first thing the Bengals will try to do is re-sign running back Cedric Benson, a free agent for sure. And given that they didn't draft a back until Finley, that has become a bigger issue.

Finley, selected in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft, figures to be a body used to fill a roster depleted of running backs. Once the Bengals are allowed to fill the roster with undrafted free agents and an established veteran or two, they'll work towards finding the best combination. But in the meantime, we have to ask: Is Finley able to become the team's feature "cowbell" running back? (this is actually a segue and not totally naiveness)

According to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Finley "is not a between the tackles type of runner. He is more like Bernard Scott, quick-footed perimeter runner with speed."

Marvin Lewis said:

“He really has been productive and has the ability to catch and run with the ball. Really what we were looking for there was a guy who would show some versatility and some abilities out of the backfield. We felt it would be a good complement in our offense as we move forward.”

Maybe it's possible that the scenario Cincinnati envisions includes transferring Bernard Scott as the team's third-down back, replacing Brian Leonard, while grooming Finley into Scott's backup. It's not like durability concerns haven't followed Scott every time his name is brought up. If that's the case, and we're totally speculating here, the Bengals will need not one, but two power backs that can pick up those tough yards between the tackles with a high volume of attempts.

But in the meantime, it's obvious that after the 2011 NFL Draft, the Bengals need Benson back.