How Did Steelers AFC North Rivals Fare This Weekend: Cincinnati Bengals

Here are the Bengals 2008 NFL Draft selections. Overall pick number in parenthesis.

The Picks:

USC LB Keith Rivers (9)

Coast Carolina WR Jerome Simpson (46)

Auburn DT Pat Sims (77)

Florida WR Andre Caldwell (97)

Kansas T Anthony Collins (112)

Fresno St. Defensive Tackle Jason Shirley (145)

App. State S Corey Lynch (177)

Villanova TE Matt Sherry (207)

University of Cincinnati OLB Angelo Craig (244)

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Thoughts on the picks:

Let's start with Rivers. Definitely a solid pick-up for the Bengals in Round 1. They immediately get an upgrade in the competititve department on defense. Rivers is always around the ball, loves playing, and has been spoiled by success while at USC. I'd imagine that he brings some of that passion and familiarity with dominance to a depressing Cincy defense.

In Round 2, the Bengals select a WR that not many of us could possibily know anything about. The Bengals must like something they saw on tape though, as they do have a fairly solid track record in acquiring WR talent this decade. If the Bengals do in fact expect Chad Johnson to be bluffing and in camp this summer, I can't say I love the pick. But if they think he's not bluffing and is on his way out this year or next, then it makes more sense to acquire more pass-catching options for Carson Palmer right now.

I like the pickup of Pat Sims here by the Bengals. I wouldn't have minded if we had traded up to get Sims or Harrison out of Arkansas here early in Round 3. The Begnals hope Sims can help patch up a porous run defense for years to come.

A University of Florida WR? Aren't they all about the same, from Ike Hilliard to Reche Caldwell? The Bengals are banking on Andre Caldwell to be a better pro. A bit strange to see another WR selected here, with all the problems Cincy has had on defense in pervious years.

The Bengals select a project T here in Anthony Collins. Cincinnati fans are convinced by scouting reports of his potential worth. I'll go with that for now and say a solid Day 2 selection.

I know nothing about Shirley, Lynch, Sherry, or Craig. It's unlikely any will make a significant impact any time soon, so let's save our breath for now.

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Overall Assesment:

I can't honestly say I have much insight about too many of these guys, but I think it's clear that the Bengals neither hit a grand slam HR nor swung and miss entirely. I definitely don't see too many difference makers in this group, at least in the sense of them being able to help push Cincy over the top in the AFC North in the next two years. If that's the case, the window for Carson Palmer should be even smaller.

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