NFL Draft is all about One Thing: Hope

It’s almost here.

OMG, it’s almost here! The NFL Draft is tomorrow!

Nothing says, “Hope,” like the draft. Every guy in the first round is a certain Hall-of-Famer, even though he hasn’t played a down of pro ball. Fans of every downtrodden team believe the draft is going to fix all their problems, and the fans of the successful teams just know the draft will allow them to continue to dominate.

For a Bengals fan, the NFL Draft is a source of hope and fear. Yes, the Bengals have done well in the last three drafts, but they have also done incredibly stupid things. Who can forget not trading for the Saints entire draft so they could select Akili Smith — a QB they didn’t need, who never worked out. How about the 2005 Draft where they took two criminals in the second and third rounds?

And even when it does work out, there are the on-field disasters. Cincinnati traded up to get the draft’s first pick, RB Ki-Jana Carter, in 1995. He blew out his knee on his fourth NFL carry. Speaking of that lost 2005 draft, their first-round pick, LB David Pollack, broke his neck in the second game of his second season.

Yes, the draft strikes fear in the hearts of Bengals fans, but it is also great cause for hope. One need only look to last season, when Cincinnati got Pro Bowl WR AJ Green in the first round and Pro Bowl QB Andy Dalton in the second.

This year, the Bengals have two picks in the first round — a rare luxury. Better still, they have no obvious needs. Truly, they can pick the best player available, and they can do it twice in the first round!

So whom should they take? The better question is whom shouldn’t they? And there are two answers to that question. First and most obviously, they shouldn’t (and won’t) take a quarterback. Barring an injury, Andy Dalton is the franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future.

But some pundits have the Bengals taking CB Janoris Jenkins, because they need a replacement for Johnathan Joseph who left last year in free agency. I’m all for the Bengals taking a cornerback, but it better not be Jenkins. He’s got a history of off-field problems the Bengals just don’t need.

Beyond that, it’s hard to say what I want. It sort of depends on how the board falls. I’d love to get G David DeCastro to shore up the interior line, but half the mock drafts suggest he won’t be there. CB Stephon Gilmore would be sweet, but mocks have him going as high as #7 to the Jaguars. Or not.

As I see it, the Bengals need a guard, a cornerback, a safety, a linebacker, a running back, and a wide receiver. Based on what I’ve read, there should be two of those guys easily avilable.

So who would I like to see the Bengals draft? Any combination of G David DeCastro, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, CB Stephon Gilmore, DT Dontari Poe, WR Michael Floyd, WR Stephen Hill, or someone else who fits what we need well.

I’ll blog and live-tweet on the draft as it develops. You can follow me at @JohnRPhythyonJr.

It’s almost here. Hope is alive!

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