What wins in the NFL? That’s simple, offensive line and defense. The biggest move outside of getting Tom Brady the Buccaneers made last year was drafting Tristan Wirfs in the first round. Wirfs went on to have the best rookie season of anybody in the NFL and wasn’t even considered for rookie of the year because of the position he plays. The offensive line is the most important position at any level of football if you want to win a championship.
The Bengals made off-season moves to improve their line by adding Riley Reiff and a good offensive line coach in Frank Pollack. They have been a mess upfront the last two years. Now it seems the majority of fans want to draft Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Burrow’s former number one target at LSU. Yes, at first glance that would be exciting, and yes the offense would become better, but if that is the pick you can count on one of two things happening.
Number one, the Bengals keep Zac Taylor around for the next three years winning eight or nine games a season until they get tired of just missing the playoffs or squeaking in and losing in the first round. The other option is they win six or fewer games and Taylor gets fired immediately.
This draft is packed with quality offensive lineman, and Penei Sewell may not even be the best one. You also have Micah Parsons, who may be the best player in the draft and he could be a difference-maker of defense. You could take Sewell at five and the best guard or center in the second round and make your offense instantly better. Remember, Reiff was a guard in college and has said he would not mind moving to guard at the NFL level.
Let me ask you this? Why did the Bengals make it to two Super Bowls in the 1980s? The simple answer is the offensive line. That is where the need to start right now. Do not go for the showy wide receiver pick. The guys up-front that win championships. How many superstar wide receivers did the Patriots have in the history of their 20-year dynasty? Sure they had Randy Moss, but guess what, they never won a Super Bowl with Moss!
I am sorry guys, I know Chase is a stud, but I also know that he won’t win you a Super Bowl. Larry Fitzgerald is as good a receiver as I have ever seen, and he still hasn’t won one. Pray for an offensive lineman in round one, and maybe even trade down and pick a lineman in round one and two. That’s how you build for the future and, more importantly, how you build for a Super Bowl.
The other problem is Cincinnati’s lack of a scouting staff. Three of the last five years they have failed miserably drafting offensive lineman. Then again, they missed badly on John Ross a few years back, so the organization as a whole is the real issue. With Burrow there is a quick 2-3 year window of opportunity and they need to cash in now.
I think a trade down would benefit this team more than anything, especially a trade with Denver, who has the No. 9 pick. Turn that into extra picks and draft a Slater at number 9 or Parson. Remember Bengals fans, the Bucs won the Super Bowl with the defense, not the offense.
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