The 2011 Arrowhead Pride NFL Mock Draft continues with Dirty South Chiefs Fan picking for the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 4...
The Cincinnati Bengals were a team that had Super Bowl aspirations at the beginning of the 2010 NFL season, after coming off an AFC North division title. The Bengals not only miss the postseason, but their offense struggled despite the heralded four-some of Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Carson Palmer and Cedric Benson. Palmer threw a career high 586 pass attempts last years and tied his career high of 20 interceptions.
Palmer struggled all year until Owens and Ochocinco were out of the line-up the last two weeks of the season. In those final two weeks Palmer completed 73% of his passes, for just under 600 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Bengals fans are hoping those final two weeks of the season were an indication that Palmer can still be an effective starter in the NFL.
The Bengals had the NFL's 27th-ranked rushing attack and a 13th-ranked passing game, and the team scored only 20.1 points per game. However, the passing game was not that much better than the rushing game as the Bengals often found themselves throwing the ball to try to catch up late in games. This awful offensive production was often plagued by turnovers.
In the off-season so far the Bengals have fired longtime offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, and hired Jay Gruden to guide their offense. Gruden has said, "We're not going to spread out and go no-huddle every down and throw the ball 65 times a game. I intend on pounding the ball and being able to pound the ball," leading many to believe the Bengals will not throw near as much in 2011.
Gruden may not plan to pass as much in 2011 but he is still a west coast offense guy, evidenced by this description of his offensive system that he made shortly after he was hired.
"A lot of quick throws involved in the West Coast offense," Gruden said. "Let the receivers do some work after the catch. The backs, tight ends catch the ball, run up field and make them miss and do things after the catch. It's very important to have very good receivers and obviously good tight ends and backs that can protect and run routes. Everybody has to play a major role." Gruden will diversify the Bengals' passing attack by using more backs and tight ends and will rely on the running game to set up big plays off play-action fakes.
With Gruden's new west coast offensive the Bengals will need someone who can stretch the field and open up the middle for the tight ends and backs. Normally that player would be Ochocinco, but with one year left on his contract for $6 million and a recent tift with Marvin Lewis, where Lewis basically said Ochocinco has never finished anything, I would not be surprised to see him moved.
The Bengals success in the 2011 NFL Season will depend on whether Carson Palmer will play or retire, since Owner Mike Brown has refused to trade him. However, with Owens gone, and the likely departure of Ochocinco as well, Cincinnati figures to improve with addition by subtraction. I believe Palmer will be better without the poison of those two players around him, will decide to play in 2011, and will return to his Pro Bowl form of 2005 and 2006. In order for Palmer to do that he must have that threat on the outside to open up the field for everyone else.
Enter AJ Green.
At 6'4", 208 lbs, AJ Green has the ideal physical makeup and comes with an automatic height advantage
over most NFL cornerbacks. Many scouts believe Green is one of the best wide receiver prospects to come into the NFL over the last decade. Few prospects have the talent and enough proven skills to make as much of an immediate impact on offense as Green. Though his performance at the Scouting Combine was slightly overshadowed by fellow receiver Julio Jones, there isn't a better offensive player set to be available in this year's draft than Green.
Green finished his career at Georgia with 23 touchdown receptions among his 166 total catches for 2,619 yards. His touchdown total is the second most in school history, while he's No. 3 in yardage. Considering he missed 3 games his sophomore year due to injury and 4 games his junior year due to suspension, those stats are pretty amazing. Green was able to dominate from start to finish and took advantage of every opportunity he was given to play.
Green's frame is a bit thin and he could certainly use a few extra pounds of muscle. However, Green is able to use what he has to his advantage. Green consistently uses his long arms to defeat the jam at the line of scrimmage as well as extending his body to grab out of reach passes. Green has the ability out- leap any defender, giving him a huge advantage in the red zone.
In addition to being a bit thin and having a slower than expect 40 time at the NFL combine, Green also raised some flag with his Wonderlic Score. Green received 10 out of 50 on his Wonderlic test, stating afterwards that he focused too long on each question. I do not believe the Bengals will let this score effect their decision to draft Green. For comparison, Roddy White notched a 4 on his Wonderlic, and I don't think the Falcons regret drafting him.
The best aspect of Green's game as a wide receiver is that he's a natural hands catcher. It is a rarity to see Green use his body to make the catch. Green appears to have such strong hands on tape that he is able to snatch the ball out of the air with ease. Green is a complete package of a prospect with all of the physical tools and attributes to develop into a perennial Pro-Bowl wide receiver in the NFL.
Green would be a great corner piece to an offense with a ton of young stars at the major skill positions. Adding Green to a young offense with young players such as Bernard Scott, Jordan Shipley, and Jermaine Gresham would certainly be a good sign for the future of the Bengals offense, and would add another game breaker for teams to have to defend. A player like Green would really open up the middle of the field, and that would complement Shipley, Gresham, Scott, and Benson.
Full Schedule And Results:
1. Carolina Panthers (ChiefsFan90s) - Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert
2. Denver Broncos (craig in calgary) - Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers
3. Buffalo Bills (Arrowdread) - Auburn QB Cam Newton
4. Cincinnati Bengals (Dirty South Chiefs Fan) - Georgia WR A.J. Green
5. Arizona Cardinals (tmurawsk) - Thursday March 24th
6. Cleveland Browns (H2E) - Thursday March 24th
7. San Francisco 49ers (Another Successful Tedford QB) - Friday March 25th
8. Tennessee Titans (ejr58) - Friday March 25th
9. Dallas Cowboys (Royals Time) - Friday March 25th
10. Washington Redskins (nmchief) - Monday March 28th
11. Houston Texans (FalconMF27) - Monday March 28th
12. Minnesota Vikings (Raven Hawk) - Monday March 28th
13. Detroit Lions (Matt Hays) - Tuesday March 29th
14. St. Louis Rams (Sam D) - Tuesday March 29th
15. Miami Dolphins (YerganFlurgan) - Tuesday March 29th
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (GenericBrand) - Wednesday March 30th
17. New England Patriots (averagegatsby) - Wednesday March 30th
18. San Diego Chargers (Chiefscafan58) - Wednesday March 30th
19. New York Giants (flowers 24) - Wednesday March 30th
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PSUkegreen) - Thursday March 31st
21. Kansas City Chiefs (Matt_Grbac) - Thursday March 31st
22. Indianapolis Colts (saskwatch) - Thursday March 31st
23. Philadelphia Eagles (OnlyKCFanNVA) - Friday April 1st
24. New Orleans Saints (The Other Patrick Allen) - Friday April 1st
25. Seattle Seahawks (Simon from KC) - Friday April 1st
26. Baltimore Ravens (Ben S) - Monday April 4th
27. Atlanta Falcons (stagdsp) - Monday April 4th
28. New England Patriots (averagegatsby) - Monday April 4th
29. Chicago Bears (KillaCity107) - Tuesday April 5th
30. New York Jets (bradelli58) - Tuesday April 5th
31. Pittsburgh Steelers (scottchief) - Tuesday April 5th
32. Green Bay Packers (Aesthetist) - Wednesday April 6th
33. New England Patriots (averagegatsby) - Wednesday April 6th
34. Buffalo Bills (Arrowdread) - Wednesday April 6th
35. Cincinnati Bengals (Dirty South Chiefs Fan) - Thursday April 7th
36. Denver Broncos (craig in calgary) - Thursday April 7th
37. Cleveland Browns (H2E) - Thursday April 7th
38. Arizona Cardinals (tmurawsk) - Friday April 8th
39.Tennessee Titans (ejr58) - Friday April 8th
40. Dallas Cowboys (Royals Time) - Friday April 8th
41. Washington Redskins (nmchief) - Monday April 11th
42. Houston Texans (FalconMF27) - Monday April 11th
43. Minnesota Vikings (Raven Hawk) - Monday April 11th
44. Detroit Lions (Matt Hays) - Tuesday April 12th
45. San Francisco 49ers (Another Successful Tedford QB) - Tuesday April 12th
46. Denver Broncos (craig in calgary) - Tuesday April 12th
47. St. Louis Rams (Sam D) - Wednesday April 13th
48. Oakland Raiders (mushin) - Wednesday April 13th
49. Jacksonville Jaguars (GenericBrand) - Wednesday April 13th
50. San Diego Chargers (Chiefsfaninca58) - Thursday April 14th
51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PSUkegreen) - Thursday April 14th
52. New York Giants (flowers 24) - Thursday April 14th
53. Kansas City Chiefs (Matt_Grbac) - Friday April 15th
54. Indianapolis Colts (saskwatch) - Friday April 15th
55. Philadelphia Eagles (OnlyKCFanNVA) - Friday April 15th
56. New Orleans Saints (The Other Patrick Allen) - Monday April 18th
57. Seattle Seahawks (Simon from KC) - Monday April 18th
58. Baltimore Ravens (Ben S) - Monday April 18th
59. Atlanta Falcons (stagdsp) - Tuesday April 19th
60. New England Patriots (averagegatsby) - Tuesday April 19th
61. Chicago Bears (KillaCity107) - Tuesday April 19th
62. New York Jets (bradelli58) - Wednesday April 20th
63. Pittsburgh Steelers (scottchief) - Wednesday April 20th
64. Green Bay Packers (Aesthetist) - Wednesday April 20th