Philadelphia Eagles News

The Bengals Are On The Clock

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After you chose Von Miller as the third overall pick with the slimmest margin of victory thus far (37 percent to Blaine Gabbert's 28 percent), we move on to the fourth overall pick, owned by the Cincinnati Bengals, who come off a disappointing 4-12 season.

A lot is in flux for the Cincinnati Bengals heading into this month's draft, and the waters are even murkier because of the work stoppage. Carson Palmer, the team's franchise quarterback since he was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2003 draft, has made clear his intentions to never play for the Bengals again.

Palmer has said enthusiastically that he's willing to retire if he's not traded or released before next season, which has led to speculation that the Bengals could be one of the teams with significant interest in Kevin Kolb. If not Kolb, the Bengals could have interest in Blaine Gabbert, the Missouri quarterback who's expected to be a top-10 pick.

The other position of interest on offense for the Bengals is wide receiver, where an infusion of youth is needed after Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens roamed the field for the Bengals in 2010. Owens has already departed and Ochocinco is still under contract, but this could be an opportunity where Georgia's A.J. Green is ripe for the picking. Green is the consensus top skill position player in the draft, and he would provide an immediate explosive downfield threat for whoever ends up under center in Cincinnati come 2011.

There's another option at wide receiver in Alabama's Julio Jones, who is said to have a higher floor than Green but a lower ceiling. Jones is also considered a superior blocker, but is less explosive.

The biggest problem on offense for the Bengals in 2010 was the run game, where they sported the league's worst yards-per-carry mark (3.6) after a 2009 season when Cedric Benson ran wild. Benson's odometer is getting up there in miles, but there's probably not a running back worthy of the fourth overall pick.

On defense, the Bengals seem well-set at linebacker and cornerback, though they could deem Patrick Peterson, the LSU cornerback, the best player on the board and pluck him with Johnathan Joseph set to become a free agent.

The real need on defense is probably defensive line, especially defensive tackle, which could make Auburn's Nick Fairley a very intriguing possibility. Likewise, Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers or North Carolina's Robert Quinn could be possibilities as pass rushers to add to a collection that includes Carlos Dunlap, last year's second-round pick who impressed as a rookie.

Who do you think the Bengals will take with the fourth overall pick?

Needs: WR, QB, DL, OT, RB
All-Good: CB, TE, LB

Previous Picks
No. 1 - Carolina: QB Cam Newton, Auburn
No. 2 - Denver: DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama
No. 3 - Buffalo: LB Von Miller, Texas A&M

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