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Bengals Could Have Selected Menelik Watson Instead Of Giovani Bernard

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Had the Bengals not re-signed Andre Smith at the last minute, the Bengals could have selected Menelik Watson instead of Giovani Bernard.

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

It was announced the Bengals re-signed right tackle Andre Smith just moments before the team announced they were using their first pick in the second round to select North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard. However, it seems as though the Bengals may not have been able to land Bernard, the top running back on their board, had they not re-signed Smith.

From Bengals.com:

"Yeah it was nice. He waited until the last possible second. Mike (Brown) brought him in the draft room and showed him we had (Menelik) Watson on the top of our board. He said, ‘It's a good thing you signed.'"

The above quote is from long-time Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander. Watson fell to the second round and was eventually selected by the Oakland Raiders shortly after the Bengals selected Bernard. Had the Bengals selected Watson, there would have been a good chance they would have decided not to re-sign Smith. There also would have been a good chance they would have missed out on getting the running back they wanted.

So really, it seems that Smith re-signing with the Bengals, even though it was last minute, saved the Bengals from having to grab a running back lower on their board.

Re-signing the best free agents is something that good teams always do. While the Bengals did bring in James Harrison and used the franchise tag on Michael Johnson, and even though they had another great draft, re-signing Smith may have been the best move of the offseason.