Q: I have trouble understanding why the Bengals failed to draft a tight end in the draft.
Also, reviewing the draft, Leonard Pope, the player many suspected we would take in the first round was available to us in the second. Whitworth is good, sure, but a pass catching tight end is a tad more urgent as we need one right now!
Also, Jimmy Williams, the player predicted to go in the top 10 was available at our spot, but we took Joseph instead. True, it was said he had attitude issues, and Marvin said he was focusing on getting good attitude guys, but how can we pass on top 10 talent? This year Marvin puzzled me early on.
**--Anthony K., Newport, Ky.
ANTHONY:** File this one under Bengaldom's official motto "In Marvin We Trust," along with the draft's secret code, "Stay True To Your Board."
With Pope going on the eighth pick in the third round to Arizona and Williams going on the fifth pick of the second round to Atlanta, the Bengals would have been ridiculous to pick either in the first round and Pope in the second.
The Pope thing is a perfect example of why certain teams pick certain players. Even before the draft, the Bengals expressed concern that the 6-7 Pope didn't fit them because he's so tall and they're not sure he'll be able to do the many things they ask the tight end to do in the running game.
With the first tenant of this offense to protect Carson Palmer, they need a guy who can block both out of the backfield and on the line, which is a major reason they didn't make an effort to re-sign Matt Schobel. Clearly with all their weapons, a pass-catching tight end is a luxury more than a necessity. A want more than a need.
Not so on the O-line. Given the uncertain future of the line and the fact they play in a smashmouth division that lives on trench warfare, it's hard to quibble opting for a lineman on either side of the ball on the first day if their type of tight end isn't there.
Plus, they think that wide receiver Tab Perry can do a lot of the things they need on third down in a tight end spot, things that even Schobel wasn't being asked to do because he wasn't on the field all that much anymore as the season went along.
And that's no knock on Schobel. But different coaches like different flavors, and Schobel never seemed to be a fit once Lewis arrived.
By the way, don't look for Perry to become a full-time tight end. Not at 212 pounds.
As for picking Joseph over Williams, it's pretty clear that in most mock drafts, Joseph had moved ahead of Williams. Some even thought Joseph is the best cornerback in this draft. Although he's only played a season of Division I, he's quite coachable and Lewis put a big premium on that in this draft. Although, they did bring in Williams for a pre-draft visit and seemed satisfied they could have worked with him.
But they'll give you 4.31 reasons they chose Joseph, his time at the NFL scouting combine back in February.