Is it possible Marvin Lewis, the long-time leader of the Cincinnati Bengals, is already on the hot seat? As odd as it seems, the 14-year head coach holds the record for most wins as a Bengals head coach. Despite this success, Lewis has been unable to lead the Bengals to a postseason win. His seven postseason losses are the most of any coach who has never won a playoff game, and his 14 years as an NFL head coach make him second to Jim E. Mora for most seasons coached without a playoff win.
That must change sooner rather than later.
This coming season is a cross road in Lewis’ career and the Bengals franchise. Injuries and subpar play led to a losing season, which puts this team in the ninth slot in the NFL Draft.
Cincinnati isn’t used to making a pick this high and is not a trend it wants to continue.
The Cincinnati Bengals need help on defense and depth on offense. Whichever direction this team decides to turn, Lewis and the team’s management must hit big and hit early. Failure to do so could result in Lewis receiving a pink slip and a one-way ticket out of the city he helped establish as an offensive success in the AFC.
Round 1, Pick 9 – Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama
The best linebacker in this draft immediately upgrades the position. Foster is a 10-year veteran waiting to happen and will help Cincinnati stuff the run.
Foster is quick enough to cover a tight end over the middle or come up and shadow a running back out of the backfield. He is a playmaker on defense this team needs.
Round 2, Pick 41 – Dan Feeney, Guard, Indiana
The loss of Kevin Zeitler is a huge blow to the offensive line. The Cincinnati Bengals must address this position early. Feeney is a tough guy with a banger mentality. This team needs another rookie who can come in and move defensive tackles around to open running lanes. He is a zone-blocking specialist with desired lateral quickness.
Round 3, Pick 73 – Trey Hendrickson, Defensive End, Florida International
The only thing that concerns me about Hendrickson besides playing small school talent is his size.
He garnered first-team all-conference accolades in 2015 after finishing tied for second in the FBS with 13.5 sacks (among his 15 tackles for loss) and five forced fumbles.
League coaches named him first-team All-C-USA again in 2016. He would be a pass rushing specialist in the NFL.
Round 4, Pick 116 – Nazir Jones, Defensive Lineman, North Carolina
He is versatile enough to play inside at tackle and can move outside to play on the end. While inside, he gives the Bengals a solid run stuffer.
He is a three or five technique in a one-gap scheme. He is quick off the snap. Jones gives the Bengals depth they need in their defensive line rotation. His strong upper body strength will be an asset on this defense.