With the Bengals selection of Texas A&M offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi on Thursday night, the team solidified a few lingering questions with their fan base. One being that the team was looking ahead in future years to solidify an important position, another was utilizing their "best player available" strategy (whether or not you believe the player was or wasn't), and that it's very likely that the team will only be retaining one of their starting offensive tackles set to hit free agency after this year.
Personally speaking, I don't mind the player they picked at No.21, I just don't agree with the plan. Ogbuehi provides a nice insurance policy for the potential impending doom of losing Andrew Whitworth and/or Andre Smith in 2016, but he doesn't provide much impact at all for 2015. The problem with that? Well, this team has yet to win a playoff game in four straight tries.
Offensive line coach Paul Alexander loves the kid and says that he could be out there in the old "tackle eligible" jumbo package, or otherwise known as the "Dennis Roland formation" around these parts. Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com mentioned that there is a possibility of Ogbuehi being a PUP List candidate to start the season, to ease back into form from a knee injury that he sustained in the final game of his collegiate career. We'll see.
Regardless, between the team having its starting tackles set in 2015, their re-signing of Eric Winston and the uncertainty of the timeline with Ogbuehi's recovery, the No.21 overall pick will have little to do with the Bengals' chances of winning a playoff game this year.
The team started off with the sensible, long-term pick. Fine. For days two and three, the plan will have to change. Immediate impact players, whether they are starters or rotational players will need to be grabbed. Most know that it's in these rounds that truly show a front office's prowess and how championship teams are built.
So, time to get to work, boys.
Our own Josh Kirkendall wrote up some of the team's needs going into the next two days.He also provided a list of the best players available at each position. As we sit here on Friday afternoon, pass-rush assistance is still needed to boost a unit that was the worst at sacking the quarterback in 2014. Speed and talent at wide receiver and tight end depth is needed. With three picks on Thursday night and five through the next three rounds, the Bengals should be able to find a handful of players able to make in impact right away.
What if Maxx Williams, the consensus top tight end in the draft falls to them? Giving Andy Dalton a huge red zone target and a toy for Hue Jackson's play-action offense would be fun, right? What if wide receiver Jaelen Strong, once thought to be a mid-first round pick at the crux of the hype surrounding him, falls into the team's lap? Though they have a slew of receiving talent, more is needed because of the injury issues and impending contract statuses of that position (yes, I know that falls in line with how they went with the Ogbuehi pick).
On defense, UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks could step in and start at either outside linebacker position, whether it's filling in for a still-rehabbing Vontaze Burfict, or taking over the SAM spot over A.J. Hawk and/or Emmanuel Lamur. the draft's best safety, Landon Collins is still out there and beef on the line is available in surplus, be it with an EDGE guy like Randy Gregory, defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, or stout interior players like Carl Davis or Eddie Goldman.
In short, this post is really both a plea and a memo to the Cincinnati Bengals. It reads: "Draft players who can help you now, and once you do, don't be afraid to play them early on".