When the NFL Draft opens, and jobs and futures are on the line, nothing can be dismissed as impossible. Severely unlikely, yes, but not impossible.
This was the message Cincinnati Bengals Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin attempted to convey last week when he was being interviewed by NFL Network at the Senior Bowl. When indirectly asked whether or not the Bengals were open to trading out of the top spot of the draft, Tobin said what he was expected to say.
“The phone’s always on,” Tobin said. “We’re gonna decide that as we go here. It’s not something that’s decided. It’s not a meeting that we’ve had. We have not met and said this is exactly what we’re gonna. this is what we’re willing to do, this is what we’re not willing to do. But it’s a fun position to be in.”
Some teams may handle the draft process differently when they have the first overall pick and a seemingly easy pick to make at that juncture. Tobin and the Bengals have stated numerous times now that their process has not changed. All options will be explored, and the conclusion of the process will arrive when it arrives.
As a reminder, the Bengals were in this position similar to this before. They turned down a massive haul in the 1999 draft to stay put and draft quarterback Akili Smith. 20 years have passed and since then, their quarterback evaluations have evolved tremendously.
If they’re confident in the player that Joe Burrow is, and we have no reason not to think they will be, it’s going to take the most insane trade offer to get the Bengals out of that spot.
The phone’s on, but don’t expect the conversation to end well for the side that’s calling.