The Bengals hit it big in the 2011 NFL Draft, and that class has been instrumental in Cincinnati getting to the playoffs four straight seasons.
The biggest name was A.J. Green out of Georgia with the 4th overall pick. Cincinnati followed that up with Andy Dalton in the second round, and those two have become one of the best QB-WR tandems in Bengals history.
It comes as no surprise CBS Sports' 2011 re-draft still has Cincinnati going with Green at No. 4 overall. Both Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson projected Green to go back to Cincinnati after J.J. Watt, Cam Newton and Richard Sherman went in the first three picks.
Ryan Wilson's Redraft pick: A.J. Green, WR. Yes, it's a boring pick, but Green has been the Bengals' best offensive weapon, a fact reinforced by the team's decision to give Andy Dalton a new deal. Incidentally, Dalton's CarAV ranks fifth among the 2011 draft class, but that's a function of never missing a start and having an explosive offense around him -- and that starts with Green. Other options here include pass rushers Miller, Houston or Robert Quinn; or offensive tackle Tyron Smith. (And no, we weren't tempted to take Colin Kaepernick here, even though this was the offseason that Carson Palmer made it known that he was done with Cincinnati, and the Bengals needed to find his replacement.)
Will Brinson's Redraft Pick: A.J. Green, WR. A clean sweep! Let's assume the Bengals still go wideout (it's too early for Andy Dalton … right??) and let's assume they still favor Green over Julio Jones. If that's the case they're going with their guy again.
Given the value of quarterbacks in today's NFL, it shouldn't come as a big surprise Brinson has Dalton going 8th overall to the Tennessee Titans:
Will Brinson's Redraft Pick: Andy Dalton, QB. Whaaaaaaa?? Look, no one says these teams have to be smarter. Dalton's been a capable steward of the Bengals offense and there are plenty of teams, including the Titans, who would kill for him as their starter. The Titans desperately needed a quarterback in 2011 and took Jake Locker 8th. Taking Dalton here would've looked like a stroke of genius by comparison.
As for Wilson, he has Dalton in the first round, but at 21st overall to the Kansas City Chiefs:
Ryan Wilson's Redraft pick: Andy Dalton, QB. The Chiefs originally traded out of this pick and the Browns selected Taylor. But with a need at quarterback, and Andy Reid likely to take over in a few years, Dalton is a logical choice here. He's a younger, cheaper version of Alex Smith.
Looking at some of the names at the end of their re-draft (Corey Liuget, Jabaal Sheard, Orlando Franklin, Jimmy Smith, Nick Fairley), you could have made a strong argument for Clint Boling to be on this list. The fourth-round pick out of Georgia has developed into a solid guard for the Bengals, and he was rewarded with a 5-year, $26 million deal this offseason.