Hobson's Choice: Trade show

Q: Why in God's name did we not trade up to get Sedrick Ellis? Are you kidding me? The LBs will be much better if the DL keeps the OL off them. At least take Trevor Laws in the second round and get a WR in the third. I am a very frustrated lifelong season ticket holder and someone who does know football. Have Marvin and Mike seen this defense?
--Jay M., Florence, KY

JAY: Count me as one of the frustrated. Maybe I'm nuts, but by giving up a mere third-rounder and fifth-rounder, could you very well have walked out of Saturday with Sedrick Ellis, James Hardy, and a tickertape parade?

And this is no knock on Keith Rivers, a tower of reliability at their most unreliable position.

But while Rivers is steady, smart and tough, Ellis is a playmaker at a position you desperately need playmakers against a schedule featuring six of the NFL's top 10 rushing teams.

The Bengals would have had to have given New England its 77th pick and maybe more to block New Orleans, a player they project as a potential starter, possibly right away.

But look at their third-round picks in the last five years: Kelley Washington, Caleb Miller, Landon Johnson, Chris Henry, Frostee Rucker and Ahmad Brooks. The jury is still out on Rucker and Brooks, but only Johnson became a starter. Certainly to get a solid, young defensive tackle would be worth even a Henry, right? Three years later he's not here and in three years Ellis will be.

Of course, this is precisely the Bengals' argument. The mortality rate of top 10 picks league-wide is about 50 percent and teams are built in rounds three, four, and five. And, at 6-0, 297 pounds, maybe Ellis is a bit of a risk.

Maybe they would have ended up in a bidding war with the Saints for the seventh pick and they just didn't feel the grades for Ellis and Rivers were all that different.

But, boy, they need a guy at that spot.

Plus, the Bengals would have gotten a fifth-rounder in the trade, and they could have used it in the second round to move up and get Indiana wide receiver James Hardy. He ended up going five spots earlier to Buffalo at No. 41.

I don't think you would have had to give up a fourth to do that and I wouldn't have. But even two fifths would have been worth a 6-5 receiver that scores red-zone touchdowns, right?

In the Bengals defense, the devastating series of injuries turned this draft into a must instead of a way station to stock the roster. If they didn't need a third receiver and if they didn't need Rudi Johnson insurance, they could have put together a package to get Ellis without worrying about having two third-round picks.

And, look, Rivers is the 11th defensive player taken in the last 16 first-day picks. So, yeah, I would say Mike and Marvin have seen the defense.


Q: Why didn't we go after Trevor Laws in the second after missing on Ellis? Or at the very least take DeSean Jackson or Limas Sweed instead of Jerome Simpson. As long as they are in the stripes I support Rivers and Simpson but I feel we could have used our second differently.
--Joey A., Katy, TX

JOEY: We have to answer a distress signal from Roger Clemens' hometown. You can only assume two things. They either didn't have a second-round grade on Laws or the need at receiver trumped everything else.

And it is a heck of need. I mean, you can at least line up with Peko and Thornton. But you don't have a clear-cut No. 3 receiver for your Pro Bowl quarterback. Yeah, you've got to take the best receiver on the board at that point.

But was Simpson the best receiver? Here you've got a guy that one scouting service Mocked at 163, more than 100 spots later. It makes you break out in a cold sweat.

But I kind of like the pick in the sense the Bengals get ripped for only drafting big-school players because they supposedly don't have a personnel department big enough to find hidden gems.

Memo to banal stereotypes:

No one is hidden any more.

And don't get on them for not taking Jackson with the 46th pick. A 5-9, 169-pound guy? Too high.

And we'll be able to keep an eye on Sweed in Pittsburgh. If the Bengals coaches don't think he can run, then the Bengals cornerbacks should be able to cover them.

One last thought on Laws. Like Ellis, he's only 6-0, and maybe that's why the Bengals didn't trade up to get him. Also, Ourlads projected Laws as a third-rounder or fourth-rounder and Pro Football Weekly says, "lacks anchor" and has trouble getting off blocks.

So maybe the Eagles reached on the next pick at No. 47.

But you have to figure the Bengals pick a DT with one of the next two picks.

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