Wow, when I looked at the headline that I just wrote, my mind exploded with all the possible time-traveling scenarios. When Mike Brown goes back to the '80s to ask Bengals founder, and his father, for some coaching advice, Paul Brown might do something awful to his son when he found out that the Bengals had only two winning seasons since 1991.
I imagine it would be along the same lines of what Easy-E would do to Ice Cube if Ice Cube went back in time and told him that he went from gangsta to the producer of Are We There Yet on TBS. If you're not hip on the pop-culture references, what I mean to say is that both Paul Brown and Easy-E would be very upset at Mike Brown or Ice Cube.
Anyway, the main thing that my mind focused on when the idea of a Bengals time machine, which I imagine was more of a DeLorean than a phone booth, popped into my head, was Andre Smith.
When the Bengals went on the clock in 2009 with the No. 6 selection, we all knew that they were going to select an offensive lineman. The year before, the Bengals offensive line gave up more sacks than all but two teams in the NFL, allowing Carson Palmer and then Ryan Fitzpatrick to get their rear ends handed to them 51 times.
Only one offensive lineman was taken off the board when the Bengals went on the clock and that was Baylor's Jason Smith, who played eight games as a rookie and 15 in his second year, as a starting right tackle.
When the Bengals went on the clock they had some options. Before we get to what they did, let's see what they didn't do. They didn't select Virginia tackle Eugene Monroe, who started 15 games as a rookie and 15 games in his second season, now playing left tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars. They didn't select Mississippi tackle Michael Oher, who started all 16 games in his rookie season and his second season, and is now the starting right tackle for the Baltimore Ravens.
Both Monroe and Oher were selected in the first round by their teams.
What the Bengals decided was best was to draft Alabama tackle Andre Smith, who held out on signing his rookie contract, came into camp weighing as much, if not more, than a fully loaded air craft carrier and then broke his ankle on one of his first days of mini-camp (mainly because ankles aren't designed to support the largest ships in the Navy). Subsequently, he only started 6 games in his rookie season.
Then in the offseason before his second season, Smith had surgery on his injured foot, but it was assumed that he would be ready once mini-camp began. He wasn't. Smith sat out much of his second season too, only starting seven of the possible 16 games.
So while all of the other tackles taken in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft other than Smith have started more than half of all the games that they were able to, Smith has soaked up the money that he held out for and has offered almost zilch in return (zilch means zero).
Now, back to the time machine thing. If the Bengals shoved you in a time machine and sent you back to April of 2009 when the Bengals were going on the clock with the No. 6 overall pick, what would you have done?