The week is almost over, meaning we're one step closer to the NFL draft.
You know that saying, "in order to know where you're going you must first know where you've been"? Well, on this Friday edition of the Bengal Quick Takes, we're going back briefly to the 2013 draft before resuming a little 2014 draft prediction chatter. It's interesting to note that last year's draft began exactly 365 days ago.
1. With the 21st pick ... the Cincinnati Bengals selected Tyler Eifert, a tight end out of Notre Dame. The pick was mostly met with applause as the Bengals' plans for the young player were obvious. With Jermaine Gresham still very much in the picture, the team was going to move toward implementing more two-tight-end sets, providing potential matchup nightmares for opposing defenses. True, Orson Charles was also at tight end and had been drafted the year before, but his pairing with Gresham wasn't as dynamic as Eifert's. When Eifert and Gresham combined to catch 10 of quarterback Andy Dalton's 26 completions in last season's opener at Chicago, the Bengals' decision to draft Eifert looked like a truly smart one. Now that Gresham's contract is concluding after this season, it will be interesting to see whether the Bengals re-sign the embattled pass-catcher to maintain their two-tight-end scheme, or look elsewhere for help for Eifert. Gresham has been knocked for having untimely penalties and drops.
2. The rest of that draft ... worked out fairly well. While the jury is still out on the later-round picks, the Bengals have to be pleased with how the first two rounds progressed. After taking Eifert in the first, the Bengals took running back Giovani Bernard and defensive end Margus Hunt in Round 2. Bernard was a star as a rookie, creating excitement virtually every time he touched the ball. His role may increase in Year 2 now that former running backs coach Hue Jackson is taking over as offensive coordinator and implementing his physical, run-based tweaks to the Bengals' system. Hunt also should get an expanded role now that Michael Johnson is gone. The other class of 2013 draft picks such as defensive back Shawn Williams, receiver Cobi Hamilton and running back Rex Burkhead also are hoping to get more opportunities to prove themselves this season.
3. Roby charged with OVI. Former Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby has reportedly been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated following a failed sobriety test last weekend in Columbus, Ohio. How does this pertain to the Bengals? Well, depending upon how the legal system handles this matter, it may not end up pertaining to the Bengals at all. Roby is a corner whom Cincinnati could be targeting with its first-round selection. ESPN draft insider Mel Kiper Jr. had him going to the Bengals at No. 24 in his latest mock draft. ESPN's Todd McShay also has mocked Roby to the Bengals in the past. No matter how the case ends up, the Bengals could be scared away from using a first-round pick on him. Without knowing the full story, it could be tough to take an early gamble on the draft hopeful primarily because the alleged incident occurred so close to the draft, which begins May 8. Besides, they already have one player, Charles, fighting a legal issue involving a road-rage incident from late March.
4. So you want to be a franchise star? Dalton said earlier this week that he felt he was the face of the Bengals' franchise. It's about time he express those feelings. But the thing is, will he actually play like one this season? He could. After Wednesday night's schedule release, we took a look at the quarterback gauntlet he'll be facing this season. He's scheduled to go up against five Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks this season, and -- excluding the uncertainties at quarterback that Houston and Jacksonville have -- a full slate of signal-callers who get paid better than he does.
5. Mailbag time. Remember, it's Friday, and we'll be doing a mailbag Saturday morning. But in order to get the mailbag posted, we need questions. Tweet me yours @ColeyHarvey with the hashtag #BengalsMail. We'll get them up.