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Zac Taylor is probably bluffing when saying ‘everything is on the table’ with the 11th overall pick

The Bengals’ new head coach said the thing that many fans hoped to hear, but don’t take it as the truth.

Cincinnati Bengals Introduce Zac Taylor Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The NFL draft is less than a month away, which means Bengals fans are trying to figure out who the Bengals should choose in the first round.

Cincinnati’s new head coach, Zac Taylor, has seemingly opened the door of possibilities with this comment from the Coaches’ breakfast during the owners’ meetings:

That is the right thing to say for a few reasons. As a team who is starting over, your first mission should be to nail your first-round pick and add a player who you can build around during the coming seasons.

Of course, the Bengals aren’t going full rebuild mode, but the reality is the era of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green is closer to the end rather than the beginning as the duo will be 32 and 31, respectively, by season’s end. Taylor should be looking for that next foundation piece in this draft.

Taylor may be a first-time head coach, but he’s showing experienced savvy with this answer. It’s never a good idea to broadcast what positions you are/aren’t looking at with your pick. This could lead to teams jumping you for that position you’ve been coveting, and it also means teams are less motivated to jump you for a position you may not be looking to take.

A quick example would be if Cincinnati wasn’t looking to draft a quarterback. If they put that out there, a team looking to trade up for a quarterback won’t be as motivated to trade in front of the Bengals, which would be one less player they didn’t want to take.

The question big question is, does Taylor mean what he is saying?

Simple logic would tell us no. The Bengals have seemingly cornered themselves into having to target a linebacker early in this draft. It isn’t wise to sit here and say they will 100 percent draft a linebacker with the 11th overall pick though.

It would be interesting if a quarterback like Dwayne Haskins fell or defensive tackle Ed Oliver made their way out of the top 10. However, their options outside of a linebacker don’t extend too far beyond that outside of an elite pass rusher falling unexpectedly.

The Bengals could certainly forgo their obvious need at linebacker in the first, but then they would almost certainly have to use their second round pick to address it. Otherwise we could be talking about it as an obvious need again next offseason.

A position like offensive tackle, which should probably be viewed as a need for this team, won’t be addressed at 11th overall. The way Taylor and his staff have talked about Bobby Hart and the deal he received give a pretty clear indication that he is going to be their starting right tackle next season. You could even add on that Cordy Glenn will be turning 30-years-old during the season and only has two years on his deal left, but it won’t move the needle much if the coaching staff feels they have their starters for the next two seasons.

So while it is certainly good that Taylor isn’t going out of his way to give up what positions the Bengals aren’t considering, it is pretty clear that the Bengals don’t have a ton of options with their first pick.