Speed thrills. But at some point, you have to play football. And after round one of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Bengals have a long way to go before being a solid football team again.
John Ross arrives with the reputation of running the fastest 40 time in the history of the NFL Combine. Only Wile E. Coyote apparently runs faster than Ross.
This is big on a number of levels, starting with the team that owns the Bengals. The Steelers secondary traditionally has trouble covering large appliances, let alone someone won runs a 40 in 4.22 seconds.
It makes you dream of Sundays in the fall when the Bengals run up 30 or more points (which happened, by the way, exactly twice last season).
Baltimore doesn't have the offense to keep up with that. And the Browns? Well, the only thing they apparently own is the Houston Texans' front office. Big dreams around here today. Except...
Football isn't played in underwear (unless you count the lingerie bowl) so a 4.22 in underwear is impressive, but football tends to be slower wearing pads and having a defender trying to jam you at the line of scrimmage. So there's that.
There's also this: The Bengals gave up 41 sacks in 2016 and just lost their two best offensive linemen. Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler combined in 2016 to give up a total of ONE sack. Their parting gift was leaving behind the group that allowed the other 40. There's your real 40 time.
Wide receivers here, tight end there, running backs over here -- what a show! Except the NFL is not arena football.
I'm right there with you. I can't wait to see what Ross' blazing speed (and it will be blazing, pads and all) will look like lined up across the field from A.J. Green. I can't wait to see how Andy Dalton handles his embarrassment of riches. I can't wait to see how defensive coordinators handle the arrival of Ross. Do they slide safety help to Green or Ross? Do they then have a linebacker who can cover Tyler Eifert? And who covers Tyler Boyd?
Oh, and by the way, here now is a healthy again Gio Bernard or a more determined Jeremy Hill to run the ball down your throats. Except...
There's that tiny problem of blocking, protecting your quarterback. The two tackles drafted in the first two rounds of 2015 will start this season. Neither has proven they can play at a high level in the NFL, at least not yet.
The Bengals lost one of the top guards in the league in free agency, and replaced him with a player they were happy to let "walk" to Minnesota a year ago. And the center has simply struggled since arriving four years ago.
The Bengals took Ross and passed on pass rushing terror Derrek Barnett. They passed on a tight end in O.J. Howard who could have helped the line with his blocking and could have helped Dalton with his soft, pass-catching hands. Remember, this team has a major decision to make with Tyler Eifert and his future. Eifert's contract is up after the 2017 season.
Five cornerbacks were drafted in round one. The Bengals passed on every one of them, despite an uncertain future for Adam Jones and an underperforming Darqueze Dennard.
The Bengals drafted dessert when what they really needed was a healthy meal.
Will it work, or not?
It works if the Bengals "hit" on their remaining picks. Remember, they found Geno Atkins in round four in 2010 and found Marvin Jones in round five and George Iloka in round six in the 2012 draft.
My hope is they address their cornerback situation (Kevin King from Washington would be just fine. Probably had to cover Ross once or twice in practice), their offense line (Cam Robinson from Alabama would be fine; I like Forrest Lamp from Western Kentucky) and a pass rusher (Zach Cunningham is interesting). But by drafting at strength in round one, they now need to nail it at need.
The business of football is open for business tonight. Take care of that business tonight and all of this business about John Ross and 4.22 speed will be just fine.