I recently talked about the upcoming NFL Draft with Luke Chandler, who is the president of New Era Scouting.
1. In last week's MMQB, Peter King wrotre that teams are warming to Michael Oher. He said that teams are now beginning to feel that Oher will be able to handle the money that goes along with being a top draft pick and that he won't lose his desire to be great. Assuming Jason Smith and Eugune Monroe by the time the Bengals are on the clock at six, is Michael Oher now a viable option?
It almost makes too much sense, which is why I feel that the Bengals will do something silly here like draft Andre Smith and give him more money than the No. 1 overall pick. Oher is such an amazing talent and I think he'd give the Bengals the kind of pass blocking left tackle they need...which is why they draft the better run blocker (Smith), and probably drop Carson Palmer sixty times a game now.
2. For whatever reason, local media has been hyping up the Bengals offseason recently. As the story goes, multiple (as many as 10) people around the league commented Marvin on how much the team had improved. This despite the fact that the only changes of note in personnel have been TJ and Stacy Andrews left while Lav Coles came aboard. What have you thought about the Bengals offseason thus far?
I liked what they did, outside of swapping Coles for Houshmanzadeh. They are the same age, but T.J. has less tread on his tires. I don't know if T.J. really had any desire to come back, but if the money was a wash, why not bring him back? I get confused with these kinds of decisions in Cincy. With their in house moves, I loved bringing back Crocker. As someone who has watched his career path, I can say I'm happy he's getting what looks like a legit shot to start for the Bengals. He's always been blocked by poor coaching regimes from developing. I looked at the Benson signing as something that's just a huge mistake. That guy has way too much baggage, and I don't trust him playing in a town so close to the Ohio River.
3. Roy Williams Cincinnati visited
Make no mistake, Williams can still hit and play downhill. He couldn't cover the Fridge on a screen pass though. He's playing much too heavy (allegedly around 245 pounds), and just isn't the same safety anymore. Plus the Bengals have way too many safeties who are just like him. It's best to pass on him at this point because he could be stealing developmental time away from Crocker, Marvin White or Chinedum Ndukwe.
4. I know you're a Browns fan so you see a lot of the Bengals. What guys on the roster do you feel are underrated or overrated?
Underrated = DT Pat Sims. He's the kind of run stuffer the Bengals have been looking for during Marvin Lewis' tenure. He comes with some baggage and concerns, but they didn't change his on field play last year.
Overrated = DE Robert Geathers. He gets too much hype as a pass rusher. He's been very average since he got paid. I don't see his game developing at all, and he's a one trick pony (speed rusher).
5. If you look at this draft from the perspective that the Bengals have to, at all costs, improve their offensive and defensive lines, is there any rationale to taking Crabtree/Maclin/Wells at six? That is to say, if they were to take someone of that ilk at six, would it still be possible to improve your line through the rest of the draft with picks like Eben Britton, Jonathan Luigs, Antonie Caldwell, Fili Moala, Sen'Derrick Marks? Are those guys good enough to pass on Raji/Monroe/Smith if they're there?
I think with the design of the passing offense in
6. So let's say the Bengals somehow sign Jon Runyon or Orlando Pace as a stop-gap for a season. Could they then pass on one of the top tackles and draft a project-type player on day 2? If so, who fits that bill? Would it even be wise to use Runyon/Pace in a scenario such as this?
I think the Bengals would do well to sign Runyan. He's a real leader who faced a similar situation when he first came to Philadelphia
7. Let's say I can guarantee you the Bengals screw up their first round pick, only I don't tell you how. Guess how such a situation might occur.
Easy. They'll pay some prospect top dollar who they know nothing about off the field. They won't know if the guy works hard, if he loves to make it rain at the strip club, if he's just some idiot. Since they do very little background research on the players they draft, they'll pay a prospect who will let the money get to his head and he'll be a waste.
8. Who is the biggest late round character risk in the entire draft?
8a. What round does "The Redeemer" pull the trigger on him?
Fourth round, at least a round earlier than anyone else would even dare. Can you imagine a defensive line with him and Jason Shirley?
9. Tell me something about this draft class that isn't being talked about.
It is going to be extremely difficult to trade down. Teams are valuing draft picks as cheap labor as the threat of an uncapped season looms. That means there is very little room for mistake, and teams need to be sure they've down their homework. For the Bengals, that means you can't draft Andre Smith in the first, Coye Francies in the second, Derek Pegues in the third, Chris Baker in the fourth, Evans in the fifth, and so on. You have to draft guys who are going to stick on your roster.