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Duke Tobin explains why Bengals are hesitant to trade up in the draft

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Having only traded up just three times this century, the Bengals are conservative in the NFL Draft for a reason.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

When reports came out earlier this week that Kentucky EDGE Josh Allen was planning on visiting the Bengals, some wondered if they would trade up for him.

Allen is going to be off the board by the fifth overall pick at the latest, and most mock drafts having him going third. The only way the Bengals would get him is if they trade up.

The Cincinnati Enquirer spoke with Bengals’ Director of Personnel Duke Tobin, and Tobin seemed to answer questions people have about trades.

“That’s not something we felt is a best practice for our team to do that,” said Tobin. “We feel like you get your main line, best players, guys that cause you to win in the draft so we want to maintain our flexibility to do that.

“You find your long-term staples in this league in the draft. That’s the way it always has been. I don’t think that’s a secret.”

That’s the way the Bengals have always operated; consistently among the league leaders in players on the active roster acquired via draft. Tobin and the front office just don’t think it’s worth giving up valuable draft capital.

“A lot of times with trades you have to give up draft capital and at high levels you have to give up draft capital that’s highly meaningful,” Tobin said. “That’s why we are slow to go on getting rid of those picks. When it’s just a pick there is not a name associated with it. So, sometimes people can give up on those pretty quickly. When there is a name associated with it, it becomes a real person, a real player and ability level there. We feel pretty good about our chances at picking players that will help our team in the middle rounds.”

So what are the odds the Bengals might trade up for someone like Josh Allen?

“Trading up in Round 1 becomes a very expensive proposition,” said Tobin “Unless you are pursuing somebody who can totally change your team, it’s hard to convince yourself it’s worth giving up the players you have to give up to do that. There are enough good players who can get to 11 and get what you want without having to go any higher.”

Trading away draft capital isn’t worth it just to move up a few spots in the draft.

“You don’t want to be in a position you are completely void at certain spots going into the draft,” he said. “That kind of lays out your hand there. We want to have options on our team prior to drafting. That frees up our opportunity to take the best players.”

“We got enough needs where we could upgrade at a number of different positions,” Tobin continued. “We feel like this draft is going to provide us an option at two or three different positions at 11. How we parse through that will be part of the discussions we have this next month.”

Empirical evidence shows that the Bengals’ front office truly believe what Tobin is saying. They clearly value draft picks, which is why they try to acquire more when they do engage in trade talks.

11th overall isn’t a bad place to be. There will still be plenty of talented prospects on the board.

Some Bengals fans are probably hoping Tobin is saying all of this because Bengals are trying to trade up for Dwayne Haskins without tipping their hand.

In any case, if the Bengals do trade up in the draft, be surprised. Be very surprised.