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Cincinatti Bengals Draft Analysis Part Two

Published: May 3, 2009

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In Continuing reviewing the Bengals draft from last week, today I’m going to focus on the two 3rd round picks in Michael Johnson, Chase Coffman, and as well as their 4th round pick Jonathan Luigs.

When it comes to defensive end Michael Johnson, the first question is when will he give 100% effort for the whole season. 

If you ask him he’ll tell you he has played 100 percent in every game he has played in, but if you ask the scouts they will tell you countless times that it looks like he isn’t giving full effort. 

That is the main complaint when it comes to Johnson who from a physical standpoint and the stats he put up at Georgia Tech should of been considered the top defensive end in the draft. 

There is no question Johnson has the skills—he is considered by most to have top 10 skills if his head is in the game at all times.  This time last year when Todd Mcshay put up his mock draft of 2009 he had Johnson going No. 2 overall so clearly the talent is there. 

The second question is what position will he play for the bengals, is he gonna stay at his position in college which defensive end, or be sort of the new Eric Henderson which was the hybrid DE/OLB on the team. 

Personally I feel he would be great as the hybrid DE/OLB for the team if you watch the highlight  of him from college he has the speed to be able to play outside linebacker and with his speed and long arms he could be very disruptive being a blitzing linebacker on passing downs.

When it comes to the roster impact on the drafting of Michael Johnson the main person affected by the pick was former college teammate of Johnson Eric Henderson.  With Johnson getting looked at as the hybrid DE/OLB the highly injured Henderson was no longer needed and got his release. 

If Johnson stays and becomes the main pass rusher at DE on third down, another question becomes, which one of the current DEs Odom and Geathers gets taken off the field for Johnson. Both guys earn big time money and are mostly pass rushers so which one of these three get the short end of the stick. 

With the pick of Chase Coffman the Bengals get that TE that can stretch the field. This is probably the first time since Marvin Lewis has been coach of the bengals they have someone on paper at tight end that can go down the field and catch the football. 

 Some would say that Ben Utecht is someone that could potentially do this but I see him as someone that is more of an all around TE that is good at both blocking and receiving. 

The main problem that comes with Coffman is his blocking. Coming from a spreed offense at Missouri he was never asked to block and alot of times was split out wide on most downs. 

While this hurt his blocking it made him become a great route runner who is said to run routes like a wide receiver. He was such a huge part of Missouri offense that after his four years of college was over he ended up being the NCAA career leader in receptions for a TE.

The main roster impact that will happen over the pick of Coffman is there is probably going to be a battle in camp between Reggie Kelly the dependable blocker and team leader against last year rookie Matt Sherry who the coaches said a lot of great things about last year at training camp before he went down with a shoulder injury. 

The question in this battle is do the bengals feel that Utecht is good enough of a blocker that Kelly and his contract that he is probably overpaid for the production that you get from him is expendable. Personally, I feel that it is and Kelly gets cut at the end of training camp.


No surprise to any Bengals fan the team took a center in the draft.  Lucky for us fans we never have to watch Eric Ghiaciuc get pushed back by the big nose tackles of the AFC North. However it will be great to watch him be abused as a Kansas City Cheifs. 

Now back to the pick of Jonathan Luigs who was the winner of the Rimington Trophy back in 2007—which goes to the best center in college football—when he blocked for two future 1st round picks in Darren Mcfadden and Felix Jones. 

The strengths of Lugis is his size he has great feet and athleticism which allows him to get to the second level with ease. He is also known for his smarts which makes him pick up the team scheme as well as opposing team blitzes. His weakness however is that he is not center out there and could have trouble with the big nose tackles that Ghiaciuc had trouble with as well.

However from reports from people close to the team the bengals seemed to be set with him starting from day one. If that is the case you have to think that two guys of the current trio of current centers on the team will most likely be cut. 

So that leaves Kyle Cook, Dan Santucci and Andrew Crummey fighting it out for that last spot, the team seems to like Cook who was going to replace Ghiaciuc in the starting lineup before he injured his toe. and was put on injured reserve. 

So my guess on the center position heading into the first week against Denver to be Lugis and Kyle Cook.

Bengals Draft Analysis: Part One

Published: April 28, 2009

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Heading into the draft, many critics, and my fellow Bengals fans, were saying this was the most important draft for Marvin Lewis since he became the Bengals coach in 2003. 

A day after the draft has finished, the majority of the draft experts have given Lewis and the Bengals high draft scores, with some declaring their draft a victory. 

While reviewing the draft for the Bengals I’m going to break things down into four parts, giving details on the individuals drafted and how it effects the team’s future at the position.

With the sixth pick in the draft the Bengals selected offensive tackle Andre Smith out of Alabama. 

While it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the Bengals were going to draft one of the four top rated offensive lineman, the question was which one would drop to them as well as who the team rated most highly. 

A dream solution occurred when both Smith and Eugene Monroe, who was rated higher, dropped down to them at the pick. 

Most people thought the team would go with Monroe, the more polished of the two, ready to jump into action, and someone with no character issues in the past. 

However, the Bengals have shown through their picks over the years that character issues are not going to stop them from picking the highest rated player on their board.  That player was Smith. Marvin Lewis stated that he was their No. 2 guy on the draft board and was just too good to pass up. 

Smith is considered a devastating run blocker who paved the way for the Crimson Tide to run wild on SEC defenses.  The reason he wasn’t rated as highly as Jason Smith and Monroe on some people’s lists is because they don’t see him as a left tackle in the future. At this moment, Smith lacks the agility and pass blocking skills necessary to be a bookend left tackle for the next 10 years.

The problem this creates is finding someone on the Bengals roster who has the skills to become a left tackle for next year. 

With word out of Cincinnati that last year’s starter, Levi Jones, is set to be released or traded, it basically leaves two people fighting for that last sport.  These two people are Andrew Whitworth, who would move over a spot from his current position at LG, and Anthony Collins who started the final six games there last year and held his own, only giving up a sack to Dwight Freeney. 

If ask me, I would chose Collins at that spot because he is basically a tackle only in the NFL and I consider him one of the top five offensive lineman on the team, so it’s tough to have him sitting on the bench.  You have to start Smith from day one on the right side of the line, and keeping Whitworth at LG solidifies the line for next year.

The biggest surprise on day one of the draft for me was that Rey Maualuga was sitting there at pick No. 38. 

Heading into the draft, Maualuga was the consensus No. 1 LB in the draft, but was passed over by teams in favor of two of his teammates and James Laurinaitis. While Maualuga brings questions when it comes to his speed and his maturity, one thing that you can’t question is that he is a tackling machine and a intimidating on the field. 

Maualuga brings the intensity and tenacity that the Bengals haven’t seen since Takeo Spikes left for Buffalo and Odell Thurman was suspended for his off the field problems.

Most of the analysts see Maualuga as only a two down back because of his speed.  While he is not the fastest LB, he has the closing speed you need at the position to get to the QB on passing downs, as well as showing in the past that he is able to stay with tight ends and receivers out of the backfield.

The pick of Maualuga basically guarantees this starting lineup, barring injury, for week one; Keith Rivers, Dhani Jones, and Maualuga.

This pick creates more depth for the line backing crew in general by moving both Brandon Johnson and Rashad Jeanty to the bench.  Both showed promise last year, with Jeantry making countless plays throughout the season, coming up with a career high 96 tackles. 

Johnson, who was overshadowed by fellow newcomers Cedrick Benson and Chris Crocker, had himself a hell of year, taking over from Rivers after his season-ending jaw surgery.  He produced 83 tackles as well as showing play making ability by coming up with two picks and 1.5 sacks. 

This pick also gives the team their heir apparent to Dhani Jones at MLB, where Maualuga is most comfortable and best suited.

The Bengals were clearly happy getting both of these guys in the first two picks. They will hopefully push the Bengals in the right direction, bringing the toughness which is sorely needed to compete year in and year out in the AFC North.