With the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Player Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select...
It better be someone who can play immediately. I really don't care if it's offense, defense or a combination of both. Well, actually, if they could get a guy who could play both ways, that'd be a story. But here's what I'm sick and tired of: Guys the Bengals draft in the first round who can't play right away.
Remember the good old days, like 2011 when Andy Dalton and A.J. Green came "turn-key" ready? Where have you gone, Takeo Spikes?
Lately, the first round of Bengals drafts have taken on an air of 1989. They didn't draft anyone in the first round of that draft, instead trading down.
in 2012, Dre Kirkpatrick arrived injured from Alabama and then went on a two-and-a-half-year learning curve.
In 2014, the Bengals landed Darqueze Dennard, fresh in from Michigan State. He had a reputation of playing physical at the line of scrimmage, unlike most rookie cornerbacks. Since the start of the 2014 season, Dennard has a grand total of... one interception.
2015 gave us Cedric Ogbuehi, arriving with a surgically reconstructed knee. He missed most of the 2015 season, which was understandable. He missed a lot of his blocks in 2016, which was baffling.
Last year's No. 1 pick, cornerback William Jackson III, never made it out of training camp. He was hurt and gone for the year.
In fact, you can make an argument that since that 2011 draft, the only player the Bengals have picked in the first round who's made an immediate impact was Tyler Eifert, class of 2013. Eifert has missed 27 of the last 52 games because of injury.
The Bengals are sitting in a good spot for the opening of the 2017 draft. Of course, that's because they were in a bad spot for most of 2016. But when their number is called, the Bengals will probably be able to pick a terrific pass rusher in Tennessee's Derek Barnett, or a terrific linebacker in Alabama's Reuben Foster or even the alleged next great running back in the NFL in LSU's Leonard Fournette.
What they can't afford is what they've done in four of the last five drafts -- take a guy who won't be an immediate impact player.
We'll hear all the talking heads on TV this week discuss "great value" for a third-round pick or a "first-rounder who slid to the third round." But NFL draft grades are skewed to players picked in round one.
Go back and look at round one of the 2011 draft. The Panthers had the No. 1 overall pick and took Cam Newton. Denver drafted second overall and took Von Miller. The teams with the first six picks all became instant contenders. Even the 49ers, who took linebacker Aldon Smith seventh overall, made it to the Super Bowl that year.
Picking eighth overall in 2011, the Titans took quarterback Jake Locker. The Jaguars went with Blaine Gabbert at 10th overall and Minnesota took Christian Ponder at No. 12. All three of those teams had to dip back into the quarterback pool with a first-round pick just a few years later.
For the Bengals, the future is now. Their core group of players -- Dalton, Green, Vontaze Burfict, Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins and Kirkpatrick -- are all in their prime. The window will be closing on them soon and, with it, the chances of the Bengals actually being real contenders with that group.
There's a better than good chance free agency will take Tyler Eifert somewhere else after this season. If for nothing else, that's a compelling reason for the Bengals to nail this draft and in particular round one.
But if they can get a guy who can go both ways, that'd be best...
The United Soccer League dropped an anvil on FC Cincinnati star Djiby Fall. He's gone for the next six matches, after drawing a red and and "for major game misconduct during last week’s match against Louisville City FC." The Louisville coach contends that Djiby "bit" one of his players in a scrum.
Sources tell me there is video evidence of Djiby making head-to-head contact with an opponent but unclear whether or not he took a bite out of his opponent.
The USL confirms that FC Cincinnati appealed the suspension, but that appeal was denied. Djiby is gone until June 3. However, he will be paid during his suspension. In the meantime, a Djiby-centric team will have to rethink its strategy...
I think the Reds have real stars in waiting in Amir Garrett, Jose Peraza and even Cody Reed. But the growing pains are real and only masked by the decent start the team has had this season. Young ballplayers will ride a rollercoaster for a while. It will be the same when Nick Senzel and Jesse Winker become regulars at the big-league level...
Bryan Price has done a masterful job of managing a ball club with glaring holes and young talent. But a magician only has so many moves before the audience figures out how it's done. In this case, the audience is the opposition. I'll stick with the 75-win season I've predicted. But I don't think that will be easily attainable. The Reds are still coming out of the crater and paying dearly for not cultivating enough of their drafted talent over the last 5-7 years...
He would have celebrated his 70th birthday today, if he were alive. Pete Ham was a big reason why "Badfinger" had its 15 minutes of fame back in the day...
Ham was the chief composer and lead singer of this group. Early on, Ham and his first group, The Iveys found a friend and mentor in The Kinks' Ray Davies. That didn't lead to any big break.
It did lead to an introduction to a man named Mal Evans, at the time The Beatles' road manager. The Beatles had just formed their own record label and were looking for acts to record. That led to a contract with Apple.
Paul McCartney, at the time, had agreed to write a song for a new Peter Sellers movie. He thought Evans' new band, now called Badfinger, would be a great choice to record it.
Not only did Badfinger sound a lot like The Beatles, it now had the muscle of McCartney's songwriting and the Apple label in its corner. Their first hit was "Come and Get It" for the Sellers' movie "The Magic Christian." This song was from their album "No Dice." It was written by Ham.
Four days before what would have been his 28th birthday, Ham discovered he was broke. After a night of drinking, a lot, with fellow bandmate Tom Evans, Ham went home and committed suicide. He hanged himself in his garage. Sadly, six years later, Evans would take his own life, in the same way.
Badfinger still tours today, with its only original member being Joey Molland. But the heart and soul of the group was Pete Ham, who would have turned 70 today.