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Expectations, Rumors And Storylines For The Cincinnati Bengals

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As we're preparing for the 2013 NFL draft and getting our everything together, there's a couple of things on our mind for Thursday's first round.

Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

DON'T EXPECT OFFENSIVE TACKLE: Reports suggest that any agreement, if one is approaching existence, between the Cincinnati Bengals and Andre Smith isn't "imminent". However we're led to believe that the result doesn't necessarily dictate drafting a first-round offensive tackle. Considering a possible run could be placed on the offensive line early during the draft (two guards and three tackles possible), it makes sense that Cincinnati gobbles up players falling during the first round. Bold statement. If Smith is unsigned, the Bengals won't draft an offensive tackle on Thursday.

We get the idea that smoke screens and other point-counterpoint-cliche responses have reached their peeks, but there's a possibility that the Bengals could be looking at the fourth-best offensive tackle prospect at No. 21 and that would preview an undesirable perspective. It would also raise the stakes in the Andre Smith game, who is believed to draw interest following the NFL draft. If Cincinnati applies best player available, it won't be an offensive tackle.

THINKING SAFETY: The greater question is which safety they'll select. Because the Bengals apply some measured common sense with a best player available philosophy (they're not going to draft a quarterback in the first round), safety appears the most reasonable prediction. Additionally the interest is there.

Based on simple observations with the roster and Mike Zimmer's attention on projected first-round safeties, we're looking at Kenny Vaccaro and Jonathan Cyprien with the team's No. 21 selection. However it's not a certainty either. If teams go after offensive linemen rather than specialty players or pass rushers; two areas that Cincinnati could realistically address (especially with contractual concerns on the defensive line).

LIKELIHOOD OF A TRADE: We've heard chatter that the Bengals have approached at least two teams about a possible first-round trade. Up (for an offensive tackle). Down (additional picks). With whom. All unknown. And we doubt that anything comes of it.

Yet if Cincinnati looks to move down, a possible partner could be the Atlanta Falcons, who are reportedly looking to trade up into the early 20s. This would be a nine-spot drop to No. 30, but include at least one third or fourth round selection.

RUNNING BACK SURPRISE? Recent mock drafts from NFL experts are gathering collective momentum for the Cincinnati Bengals to draft Alabama running back Eddie Lacy. Many of you who have followed Cincy Jungle over the years knows that I'm anti-running back in the first round; it's a wasted pick in today's game that's placed less value on running backs. Obviously we're not talking about the Adrian Peterson class of players that redefine the position, which Lacy isn't. The bigger question is, don't you want to contrast BenJarvus Green-Ellis' production?