After a somewhat controversial pick of Andre Smith in round one, Kirkendall, manager of Cincy Jungle, is back with a slightly less startling pick.
Heading into the draft, it’s been argued (a lot) that the Bengals have to continue drafting offensive linemen; in one scenario, we saw as many as four linemen; two hopeful starters, at offensive tackle and center. With starter Eric Ghiaciuc leaving for free agency – and thus, unemployed – Cincinnati will look for a start-ready center. At first, I was convinced that we should draft a center with our second-round pick. However, after several convincing arguments that we’ll still be able to find a good center in the third round, along with unproven guys like Dan Santucci and Kyle Cook that could be given a shot at starting, I moved toward defense.
Before the final two games, the Bengals were ranked 22nd in total defense, shutting down the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs respective offenses, leap-frogging 10 spots to finish with the league’s 12th best defense. Tricky numbers be damned, we still need help on defense.
Linebackers and pass rushers are a concern. Heading into 2010, the Bengals will have Dhani Jones (32 years old this time next season) and Keith Rivers at linebacker. Not just starters. Linebackers. Total. Granted, 2010 isn't this year, but one of the biggest issues with the Bengals is that they lack preparation by building for the future. Also, last year the Bengals recorded 17 quarterback sacks, looking to increase their blitzing schemes to improve their pass rush. To address several issues at once, I selected UC’s Connor Barwin.
MTD thoughts: Given that Cincinnati could easily find a center in the third or fourth round, I like this pick. Michael Johnson might be a flashier pick, but Barwin is a tough player. And the fans certainly would like to see a local guy.
Mocking the Draft's Top Five Remaining Prospects - DE Michael Johnson, OT Phil Loadholt, TE Brandon Pettigrew, QB Josh Freeman, CB Alphonso Smith