Q: If either Dorsey or Ellis falls to 9, it seems to be a lock that they would be the pick at 9. If that scenario did happen, would the Bengals possibly take a second DT in round two, such as Pat Sims or Trevor Laws? Also, the Bengals know the Saints and Broncos are in dire need of a DT. Is it possible the Bengals would swap picks with one of them and focus on a DT later in the draft?
--Brian W., Franklin Furnace, OH
BRIAN: If the Bengals can trade down, they would have done it yesterday. That's the only no-brainer on April 26. You not only get a similar player for cheaper that you'd get at No. 9, you get another pick. Everybody after the Chiefs at No. 5 wants to trade down.
You wouldn't get Ellis, but maybe you'd get another defensive tackle in North Carolina's Kentwan Balmer and another player.
That's the problem. Everybody would like to trade down, particularly in what is perceived as an overall weak draft, and no one wants to trade up.
Unfortunately for the Bengals, it's seen only as a seven-player draft: The Longs, Vernon Gholston, Darren McFadden, Glenn Dorsey, Ryan Clady and Matt Ryan with Ellis looking to be what Mel Kiper Jr., calls the wild card.
Fortunately for the Bengals, they can keep the teams behind them guessing because if somebody falls, they could go any variety of ways, be it a Clady or an Ellis, so that could scrounge up some interest.
But you'd have to believe that would be only a Draft Day deal. Teams behind the Bengals would have to see how the first seven picks or so unfold, so a phone call two weeks out would only get you a contingency deal at best.
If they hang at No. 9 and pick Ellis, they wouldn't take another tackle at No. 46. If they go defense first, you'd think they have to go wide receiver next and then quite possibly running back if they are as serious about running the ball as they say.
As an aside, we're going to make a pitch here for Troy cornerback Leodis McKelvin if they stay at No. 9 and Ellis is gone. Here's a guy who helps you right away in the return game with three returns for scores as a senior. Not only do you get a gamebreaker that can win two games for you right now, but you get a guy who is going to contribute from the first snap of nickel as at least a third corner. Here's a guy they say is going to be an elite defender and, yeah, they've drafted corners Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph in the first round the last two years.
But you can never have enough corners (look at Baltimore's great defense in desperate need), and the key is getting his hands on the ball. A great value pick at No. 9.
Q: Marvin has stressed that he wants to get back to running the ball. So what if we took a TE early in the draft, say in the second round, and then a RB and WR/kick returner in the middle or later rounds? We can send a message to our disgruntled WRs by putting two TEs on the field and pounding the ball up the middle. So in essence we solve the problem of our 3rd WR by getting rid of him all together and replacing him with a TE. Any thoughts?
--Vincent, Toronto, Canada
VINCENT: That's been in the works since before Chris Henry and Tab Perry moved on and is a big reason they signed Colts tight end Ben Utecht.
Although he comes here as a pass catcher, Utecht brings plenty of experience as a blocker with 30 starts on the line inside the other Indy tight end, Dallas Clark, split out. You're right, the idea is to give them a more diverse look than the three-receiver and a better opportunity at running the ball.
But the three-receiver set isn't going to be abolished. You have to mix it up and you can't totally Woody Hayes it because you've got a game-changer at quarterback.
Yet taking a tight end early doesn't seem to fit in with the signing of Utecht. Certainly if guys like Fred Davis and John Carlson are hanging around in the second round or Brad Cottam is there in the third round, they'd have to think about it. But you assume they wouldn't take them over a D-tackle like Laws or Sims.
Plus, they've got bigger needs on offense now that Utecht is here.
And from what the scouts say, the top tight ends aren't going to help you very much in the running game right off because they're better pass catchers and are going to have to develop as blockers.
Q: With the turnover of Henry and the no show of T.J. and Chad, for polar reasons, who's looking like the favorite at No. 3 receiver? Gabriel is a very good pickup, though Holt showed a lot of promise as well. Who's looking like the heir to No. 3 from the voluntaries?
--Bengal Ruby, Bowling Green, OH
RUBY: The on-field voluntaries start next month and there's a good chance a leading candidate to be the No. 3 isn't here yet.
Gabriel didn't play last year and Antonio Chatman has been plagued by injury the past two years, so the highest drafted wide receiver is going to be automatically in the mix. Holt is a great kid and tough guy, but he's probably seen more as a special-teamer, albeit an important one.
Or, a veteran that gets cut just before or during training camp may get a look. The one good thing about Gabriel and Chatman is they have some NFL production, but it hasn't been consistent. But those are the kind of receivers that can be revived by a guy like Carson Palmer.
Still, the first wide receiver they select in the draft is just an absolutely huge pick.