Dear Bengal Nation,
I know it may not be the majority, but on social media following our beloved clubs selection of wide receiver John Ross, the front office got torn up. Comment after comment complaining of taking a “brittle, short, wide receiver that we didn’t need” when we could have taken a difference making defender. The simple fact is that this is not true. As the 2016 season dragged on, there were 4 big parts of our team that contributed to a 9-loss season.
- Our offensive line struggles – The offensive line was bad. It killed our entire offense. It got worse when we lost Zeitler and Whit. However, the FO believes that Ogbuehi and Fisher are going to be good players. Both have missed essentially one of their only two seasons in the league. They also were our top two selections TWO years ago. We cannot give up on them yet. Dave Lapham said this week on his podcast with Dan Hoard that Ced would be a top-10 pick, and no-doubt, the first offensive lineman taken in this year’s draft. Let’s let him play one more season. Our interior line is set with Boling, Bodine, and Big Andre. Boling is signed long-term, and played last year with a bum shoulder. Bodine has improved, although just slightly, each season, and Andre was always a great run-blocker here. His biggest struggles were quick edge rushers, however playing inside relieves that fear.
- Not enough pass rush – With only 33 sacks last season, it was no secret we need to improve the pass rush. And while taking Jonathan Allen, Derek Barnett, or another edge rusher in the first round would have solved that need, there is going to be high-quality edge rushers that the Bengals could pick tonight. Keep an eye out for Derek Rivers or Tarell Basham in Round 3. Another plus, in my opinion, is getting Andrew Billings back healthy. I firmly believe he would have been a huge part of the rotation last season. He is a big-bodied DT that can plug up holes in the running game and has strength to rush the passer.
- Our kicking game was horrendous – This can’t be fixed in round one. LET’S DRAFT ZANE! and last but not least…
- Our wide receivers could not get open when AJ got hurt – BING, BING, BING! Other than the consistent O-Line struggles, this was without a doubt the number one complaint! Our wideouts could create no separation outside of AJ Green. LaFell had a nice year, but isn’t going to consistently get open. Tyler Boyd has the potential to be a great slot receiver, but he was just a rookie and needs guys around him. Cody Core was alright in his few appearances, but there is a reason he was picked in round six. How do we fix this? We pick the one guy who creates more separation and has more speed than any player in the draft. John Ross.
I urge all of you Who Dey Fanatics to look pass the 4.22. He is not Darrius Heyward-Bey. Or AJ Jenkins. Or Phillip Dorsett. He isn’t a track star who is trying to play football. He is a great (college) football player who happens to have world-class speed. His routes are polished, with room to improve and who better to learn under than Adriel Jeremiah. His after the play ability is unquestioned. His hands are above-average. His common comparisons are DeSean Jackson and Brandin Cooks. I think he ends up somewhere in the middle, if healthy, which brings me to my last point. I am just as concerned as his health as any of you, especially given our recent history with draft picks. But football is a caveman sport. It is grown, freakish men hitting each other at full speed. Anyone who is out there can get hurt. His size, or lack there of, makes it a little more likely, but there are plenty of big receivers who have trouble staying healthy too.
Let’s all enjoy this pick. We have a player who is faster than anyone else EVER, coming into the league. And if you still aren’t convinced, at least think of one MAJOR positive. He is going to be as fun as hell to play with in Madden 18!
Curse of Bo