Hobson's Choice: Know to need

With the signing of D.J. and S.A., the Bengals have addressed their defense very nicely. With the draft coming up, what positions and who do you think they will look at? There was some talk about drafting a safety, is that still a likely direction? With the new signings, I feel that the Bengals won't have to go in the draft with an urgency about filling spots. I feel that they really need to look at drafting a TE in the first round now, and possibly a QB to back up C.P. for not only this year, but for some years to come, unless they do get one in free agency which looks more and more each day will be Jamie M. which I don't think they are completely sold on.

Final note: The Bengals have really made it interesting. What will the Bengals do in the draft now? Could it be possible the Bengals will give up some picks and try to trade up to get that solid safety or TE in the 1st round? Possibly draft a QB to backup Carson for years to come? Maybe they look at some O-linemen in the draft to replace some of the getting expensive and aging ones we have now?

I feel that this draft is going to be really fun because of the fact they really don't have to draft for a starter, but draft for some competition at a starting spot. I hate to say it, but I think it might be wise to also look at some O-linemen to replace a big cap hitter like a Willie Anderson for next year. What do you think?
**--Jeremy, Winchester, OH

JEREMY:** Agreed. The Adams signing allows them to take the best player available (sorry for the cliché, but really) and not have to reach on a tweener first-second rounder. Indeed, you could gather from this that they don't think DTs Haloti Ngata (Oregon) and Brodrick Bunkley (Florida State) are going to be available at No. 24.

And trading up just doesn't seem to fit in with what head coach Marvin Lewis is trying to do here. Why jump five or 10 spots and give up a potential starter in the second or third round for a guy at Nos. 10-15 that is going to be as big of a gamble as the guy at No. 24?

That said, there clearly must be some positions they are seeking. You would think it has to be headed by tight end, safety (despite the Jackson signing) and you always have to be looking for a cornerback, right?

Of course, they'd love a pass-rushing end, but North Carolina State's Mario Williams is going to be long gone and if one of the other guys is left at No. 24, why would you want a borderline pass rusher instead of a higher rated tight end or cornerback?

You guys have me convinced on the tight end. I had been of the "there's-just-one-ball," school of thought that said you didn't need a pass-catching tight end if you had four big-time receivers with three top-notch wides and a gifted third-down running back. But then you wonder just how much easier life would be for Carson Palmer with a big target over the middle. Remember what Peyton Manning did with Dallas Clark in this building? And watch how much better Charlie Frye gets with a healthy Kellen Winslow.

(Of course, the Browns have to come up with somebody other than Braylon Edwards on the outside to make Winslow really effective.)

You don't have to get these guys in the first round. You should be able to get a solid tight end or safety in the second or third, or maybe even in the fourth. The problem the Bengals have is it's a long way from No. 24 to No. 55 in the second round, but that's why Lewis says it's so important to stick to the grades, and it's even more important now because the Adams and Jackson signings mean they're not drafting for immediate need.

But you can't go the other way, either, and start taking offensive linemen just because you haven't extended any of the starters past '06. That would be panicking because you've got potential starters in center Eric Ghiaciuc, guard Scott Kooistra, tackle Stacy Andrews, and the ability to use the franchise tag.

There may be no gaping holes, but there are enough leaks that you can't go there just yet.

As for the backup quarterback, only on the second day of the draft. Sure, if Jay Cutler fell there, but it won't happen.

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