There are few, if any, people I've chatted with or read that are as in tune with the draft as our very own BadMaafala. I'm pleased he's participating in this with us and I look forward to his insights the rest of this month and next about the 2008 NFL Draft. Many thanks. That means the New Orleans Saints and Blitzburgh are on the clock.
If the Bengals can get Dorsey, Ellis, or McFadden, it would be the steal of the draft. If not, they are very screwed, which leads me to believe that they would consider trading up or down.
I am a big supporter of picking the best player available, especially this early, but the value at this spot is at LT, QB, and CB. The Bengals have spent first round picks on 2 CB's, a QB, and a LT in the past 6 years, and none of those picks look like a bust. The good news is that even if they don't need them, there are some very good players still available like McKelvin, Ryan, and your choice of the OT's. If someone a few spots down targets one of those players, the Bengals could have a trade partner.
We can't trade here, though, so they're stuck. If you're going to dip into the next tier based on need, you might as well go all out. Their needs (other than depth) are:
LB - Rough couple of years for their LB's. I don't see why Thurman won't get reinstated this year, but Pollack probably won't be the same if he comes back at all. Their roster is filled with LB depth, but not very many have starting potential.
DT - Still a mystery if they will ever switch to the 3-4. Peko has been decent, but Thornton is older and hasn't been that good since the first year he played for the Bengals.
WR - With Henry gone, Johnson unhappy, and no solid options behind them, the Bengals will be forced to draft a WR at some point, maybe two.
TE - They lack of a top tier TE, which amplifies the need at WR.
RB - Johnson is getting old, Irons is still hurt, and Watson isn't a full time starter. They don't need more depth, but it seems possible they could bite on a top RB.
FS - They have some capable players, but no proven starter.
C - They could use a starting center, but still have some decent options.
PR - Antonio Chapman isn't that great and has been injured a lot.
There are no DT's or FS's, TE's, or C's that would even warrant consideration at #9. NFL DS says I should look at Thomas at WR, Rivers and Connor at LB, and Mendenhall at RB. To be honest, I don't like any of those guys here, and here's why:
Devin Thomas - Shooting up boards for good workouts, which usually isn't a good thing. Part of his value is in KR's, but the Bengals need a PR, not KR. Also, this class has the WR depth to allow the Bengals to wait on that need.
Rashard Mendenhall - Similar to a young Rudy Johnson. He'll probably be a good RB, but not a great one. He does a lot of things right, especially for a one-year starter, but he doesn't have the good moves you want in a top 10 guy. I'd also consider Stewart, who I think will be a better back, but they already have a running back (Irons) who is injured. They need someone who can at least share time right away. If Stewart wasn't injured, I think he'd be my pick.
Keith Rivers - NFL DS is wrong. Rivers is not worth the 9th overall pick. He's not a freak athlete and he's not an instincts guy. He may be the best overall LB in this class, but if Maualuga and Laurinaitis had declared, he probably wouldn't be drafted in the first round. He's no Patrick Willis or AJ Hawk. I think Blitz might have been on to something by going with Mayo. He was more productive and timed better than Rivers. That said, Rivers is a good athlete and would be an upgrade for the Bengals.
Dan Connor - Once again, Connor is benefiting from a weak class. He is too small to play in the middle and not athletic enough to play on the outside. However, he knows how to play the game and gets the most out of his ability.
So I've pretty much ruled out the Bengals getting anything close to market value for their pick, so what the heck, with the 9th pick of the 2008 NFL draft the Cincinnati Bengals select:
Keith Rivers, OLB, USC
#1 - Miami Dolphins, Darren Mcfadden
#2 - St. Louis Rams, Chris Long
#3 - Atlanta Falcons, Sedrick Ellis
#4 - Oakland Raiders, Vernon Gholston
#5 - Kansas City Chiefs, Jake Long
#6 - New York Jets, Glen Dorsey
#7 - New England Patriots, Dominique Rodger-Cromartie
#8 - Baltimore Ravens, Jerod Mayo