Hobson's Choice: Feeling a draft

Hey Geoff, I'm incredibly intrigued by what the Bengals could potentially get out of this draft, especially in the first round. However, with the signing of Bryan Robinson, will the Bengals still be looking to go DT with the 17th overall pick? If not, where else do you see the Bengals looking to go with their opening pick?

There are only sixteen teams picking before the Bengals, and maybe I'm wrong but I watch enough college football to realize that there are way more than just 16 quality players in this draft, so I'm psyched with just about any pick that the Bengals might make. Just a side note though, I would love it if someone like Antrell Rolle, Adam Jones, Heath Miller, or Thomas Davis fell into our laps at 17.

* Mike, Louisville MIKE:*
Thanks for the kind words from the House of the Cards. It's early (still 33 days to the draft), but it's never too early for the coaches and scouts to keep their mouths shut when it comes to what they're thinking.

But, in my very small mind, I think the signing of Robinson and last year's selection of Matthias Askew opens up the 17th pick to positions other than defensive line, and increases the odds of drafting an offensive player. Marvin Lewis has said himself that everything is in play but a quarterback. (And I'll add, realistically, a running back and cornerback.)

Askew, an early-out defensive tackle from Michigan State, came to the Bengals in the fourth round last year as a project. Word was if he stayed in school, he would have been a first-rounder this year. If the tackle you get at No. 17 this year (Florida State's Travis Johnson?) is about as far along, why do it with Robinson in the fold?

And, I doubt the Bengals would go for a tweener-type here with a defensive end/linebacker, since that type of player is such a gamble. Plus, they've got three ends they like in Duane Clemons, Justin Smith and Robert Geathers, and a horde of weak-side linebackers. With the injury question hovering over middle linebacker Nate Webster, you'd think the Bengals would be looking for a down-hill inside backer and No. 17 would be too high for that.

That's probably a spot you could fill in free agency after the draft without losing an arm and a leg.

But that would open it up to a safety or a tight end at No. 17, wouldn't it? The Bengals have to figure out if Georgia strong safety Thomas Davis can run well enough to cover, but you guys know how I feel about that. If he can play the run (and he can) grab him, and worry about third down later.

You hear all kinds of things about Virginia tight end Heath Miller. Most of them are good and that he's going to be a fine NFL player. There doesn't seem to be consensus on his blocking, but there looks to be one on his speed.

He's got good speed, but not Kellen Winslow-Todd-Heap-break-open-a-game speed and you wonder if No. 17 is too high for him. Maybe, maybe not, because he'll be a good player.

But, if you can get a wide receiver that can run away from people at No. 17, why not do that if there is no impact defensive player there?

A fast receiver might be the only sure thing at No. 17. Yes, many are going to moan about adding another offensive player after an offseason of dumping nearly $15 million into real money this year to keep running back Rudi Johnson and wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

But one of my last memories of quarterback Carson Palmer in '04 is his called third strike on Ravens Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed on his fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Chad Johnson. Reed went to bat the ball down like he has so many, but Palmer's ball had so much juice on it that it went by Reed like a Curt Schilling slider in October.

I say give the guy as many weapons as you can get in whatever round you can. If the Bengals don't get defense at No. 17, it won't be a felony.

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