For all of those experts who believe the Cincinnati Bengals should draft a quarterback with the first pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, I have just two questions for you.
- Are you serious?
- Have you watched the Bengals play for the past three or four years?
Tell me this: could a quarterback have stopped Lamar Jackson’s 47-yard touchdown run? Or could a quarterback have covered the numerous tight ends who found themselves running freely over the middle of the Bengals’ defense (Nick Boyle gained 60 yards on his first two receptions and Mark Andrews finished with six catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns).
Or could a quarterback have prevented Jackson from completing 15 of 17 passes (one incompletion came on a spike to stop the clock) for 223 yards and three touchdowns en route to becoming the second player in NFL history to have a perfect passer rating (158.3) in multiple games in a season?
So maybe the experts might want to spend a little more time on this one.
Here’s another thought.
How about trading down a couple of spots in the draft and selecting one of two players:
Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
At 6-5 and 265 pounds, Young is a physical specimen who has been playing like a man possessed. Young leads the country with 13.5 sacks and has already forced five fumbles. At this point, he probably would’ve had more of each if a suspension didn’t prohibit him from playing this past weekend. Here is what draft guru Todd McShay had to say about Young:
“He has quickness and above-average bend, and he flashes the ability to convert speed to power, though I’d like to see some improvement getting off blocks. He best fits as a 4-3 defensive end, but he has experience dropping into coverage and could end up converting to a 3-4 outside linebacker role.”
There are two ways to stop a tight end from getting open downfield. One is to get to the quarterback before he has time to throw the ball, and another is to cover the tight end. Young would be able to help with both.
The only problem with Young is that the Bengals may not be able to trade down to get him. If Young successfully appeals his suspension and only misses the two games with Maryland and Rutgers, there is still a chance that he could end up as the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft. Even if he misses the four games he’s expected to, the NFL still may not care. He’s that good.
Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Simmons is the new breed of linebacker coming out of college. At 6-4, he has the length to cover the tallest receivers and, at only 225 pounds, the speed to stay with them. A converted safety, Simmons also has the experience needed to clog the biggest hole on the Bengals’ defense.
Simmons has been a tackling machine throughout his college career. He recorded 45 total tackles as a sophomore and had 89 last year. In addition, Simmons had 1.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, an interception he returned for a touchdown and six passes defensed.
This year, Simmons has already recorded 69 total tackles with five sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, an interception and four passes defensed.
“The biggest question about Simmons at this point: What position does he play at the next level?,” McShay said. “He’s a bulked-up converted safety who can play all over -- corner, safety, linebacker -- thanks to his excellent athleticism. He has smooth hips and long arms, and he is pretty talented in coverage.”
Once again, that sounds like exactly the type of player that the Bengals have been so sorely lacking for so long.
The choice seems pretty clear to me. Trade down, and pick up either Chase or Simmons, depending on your preferences. Or, better yet, trade down for an additional first-round pick and grab Simmons and a quarterback.
Do you think the Bengals need to go defense instead of a quarterback? Let me know what you think.