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Cincinnati Bengals Team Needs

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Cincinnati Bengals Team Needs
By: Chris Dunham, Jr.

Defensive Tackle
The key weakness of the Bengals in the Marvin Lewis era has been their run defense. The run D has been abysmal. Blame for the troubles can be placed squarely on the shoulders of the DTs. A big problem is their size. Starters John Thornton and Bryan Robinson go 6’2”-297 and 6’4”-304 respectively. They have some young players backing up these undersized veterans. But ‘04 4th rounder Matthias Askew was thought to be the DT of the future for the Bengals but hasn’t progressed nearly as well as Cincinnati’s coaches have hoped. Shaun Smith is Cincinnati’s only real “run stuffing” DT. But he’s been struggling to make the team’s active roster on Sundays. The Bengals would love to get Rodrique Writght from Texas or LSU’s Claude Wroten in round 1, or look at Michigan’s Gabe Watson the round 2.

Strong Safety
Cincinnati’s strong safety situation is a mess. There have been a half dozen starters at that spot in the last 3 years. The Bengals will be set at FS when Madieu Williams returns from injury next year, but he’s going to need a running mate to stuff the run back there. Kim Herring was showing signs of age before his injury. Ifeyani Ohalate hasn’t been a big help in stopping the run. And Anthony Mitchell plays mostly special teams. Cincinnati has been looking for a tough, physical strong safety for a few years, and this could be the year they find one. The Bengals will be hoping for USC’s Darnell Bing to fall to the end of round 1 because of injury troubles, or will look for Georgia’s Greg Blue in round 1 or 2.

Tight End
For what seems like an eternity, the Bengals have used a tight end-by committee approach. Their 3 tight ends have been Tony Stewart, Reggie Kelly, and Matt Schobel. Stewart, plays the least of the bunch. Kelly is mainly a run-blocker and Schobel does some receiving. None of them are very tall or are considered really good threats for Carson Palmer. It’s no surprise for an entire game to go by without a Bengals tight end catching a pass. Cincinnati needs a TE that can play every down--which means catch and block. Cincinnati’s not likely to use a first rounder on offense this year, but a late day 1 pick on Maryland’s Vernon Davis or Oregon’s Tim Day is a possibility.

Offensive Guard
The Bengals O-line is set. They’re one of the league’s strongest units and have been intact for years. Cincinnati has good depth at each spot on the line except guard. The only true reserve guard, Scott Koostra, also plays a little tackle and has been average at best when called upon to fill in. The Bengals will be looking to sure-up their insurance plan for the offensive line on day 2 this year. They’ll be hoping for someone like Michigan’s Matt Lentz, Will Allen from Texas, or Aldo De La Garza from Texas A & M to be available early in the day.

Defensive End
Justin Smith is starting to look like what the Bengals expected when they made him a top 5 draft pick in 2001. Robert Geathers and David Pollack each have good speed and are pass-rush specialists. But the Bengals could use a good run-stopping defensive end to help on the run D that gives them tons of trouble. They’ll be looking for someone with good size such as Northwestern’s Loren Howard, or South Carolina’s Moe Thompson on day 2.

Discuss the Bengals team needs in our Cincinnati Bengals Forum.

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