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Bengals Mailbag: Ownership, cornering the draft and offensive improvement

John Sheeran and Anthony Cosenza of Cincy Jungle and The Orange and Black Insider were joined by the hostesses of the great Bengals podcast, “Tigress Talk” this past Tuesday to answer reader and listener questions.

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We’re back with another roundtable chat and live questions show, where we answered your questions! This time, we were joined by the hostesses of another great Bengals podcast in “Tigress Talk” to chat some Bengals.

We’re got started on Tuesday evening, and touched on a number of topics. Those on tap for discussion this week:

  • How much will the offense improve, in terms of deep ball passing and the like, with the three new offensive linemen starters?
  • Just how proud are we of Bengals management in the strides they’ve made of late, in terms of fan and player engagement—especially when considering some of the aspects going on with the Reds?
  • Which cornerback intrigues you the most in the first couple of rounds?
  • Who are some of our all-time favorite Bengals players?
  • And much more!

We also received an interesting text from Daniel that we couldn’t get to on the air. He was wondering about how the aforementioned aggressive approach by the front office in their engagement with both the fan base and their past greats could shape their draft approach this year.

“With the changes this organization has made in the past three years since Zac (Taylor) has arrived, wondering if they might think outside of the box in this draft? Like moving up to get a stud 3-tech or cornerback? There’s a couple of moves that could be made to secure one, but it would take aggressiveness like his mentor!”

I assume by “mentor” we’re talking about Sean McVay and how the Rams have been in the “F them draft picks” mode. Los Angeles famously went after a slew of high-profile veterans in their quest for a Super Bowl LVI win, which they achieved in an eke-out over the up-and-coming Bengals team.

Regardless, there are a lot of recent moves by Cincinnati’s front office that would spur Daniel’s line of thinking. For on the field results, outside free agency forays in contracts like D.J. Reader, Chidobe Awuzie, Vonn Bell, Trey Hendrickson and many more that have paid off as a big part of the Bengals’ Super Bowl run last year.

Their embracing of the fan base with elements like the fan-centric jersey tease before the unveiling, the Ring of Honor, pre-Super Bowl pep rally and now the indoor practice facility movement also breed the sentiment of “expect the unexpected”.

Even with all of the changes, there are some core franchise tentpoles that remain in place. There are certain positions in which they value over others (see Jessie Bates, franchise tag), and how they use free agency to position themselves in a certain way at the end of April.

In the Duke Tobin era, the Bengals have largely used the “Best Player Available” strategy when it comes to the draft. At times it hasn’t paid off, while rare deviations from it have also led to disaster (2017 and 2018 first-round picks, anyone?).

Regardless, the Bengals are in the unfamiliar position of being a team with a largely-intact roster coming off of a Super Bowl appearance. In short, even with a pick at the very end of rounds in a couple of weeks, they’re in the driver’s seat.

Sure, there are some obvious needs: interior defensive lineman, cornerback, added offensive line reinforcements, safety and the like, but moves in the past three offseasons haven’t forced them to be pigeonholed to positional desperation.

In that respect, we are likely looking at a “see-what-falls-to-them” and/or move back type of situation. Cincinnati has shown the penchant to collect picks, so moving back, even in the premium rounds (look at the second round of last year, for example) has to be in the cards.

To play devil’s advocate though, Cincinnati’s fuller roster and lessened needs might exclude them from collecting more picks. Still, I think a lot of options are on the table—just not being uber-aggressive with a premium move-up.

I expect the Bengals to stand pat on Nights 1 and 2, allowing the BPA strategy to play out. A move out of Rounds 1 and/or 2 would likely be a scenario wherein their draft board is completely exhausted of value picks.

So, this has been a long way of saying that, even with the myriad of changes we’ve been pleased to see from this organization of late, we probably shouldn’t expect blockbuster trades to move up in the draft—even if some situations call for it on the surface.

If you didn’t get your question to us this time, you can get them to us in a variety of ways:

  • A number of live chats and comment threads. On this post, the above-embedded YouTube video (“Super Chats” get priority), Cincy Jungle’s Facebook and more.
  • Call/Text (949) 542-6241.
  • Email us at theobinsider@gmail.com.
  • Tweet @BengalsOBI or @CincyJungle.

The show hosted by an All-Star ensemble, including Kayla Swelbar and Bengals Whitney from Tigress Talk! The show provides valuable insight and tons of entertainment, so go check out their YouTube channel!

Our thanks to Tigress Talk and to those of you who tuning in and/or submitting questions!

If you’re unable to join us live here at Cincy Jungle or YouTube for every episode, all of our podcast content is available here on CJ, the Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart Radio and Google Play Music apps, our Orange and Black Insider YouTube channel, as well as through Megaphone and, as always, on iTunes! Thanks for listening and go subscribe to our channels to be notified when we’re going live and when new episodes are available!