Thursday, May 1, 2008

Did The Bengals Make a 2nd Round Mistake?

I don't know nothing about this Jerome Simpson cat, but I have a terrible feeling the Bengals blew it in the second round of the 2008 draft.

In case you hadn't noticed, the Bengals are no longer a young, dynamic and explosive offense. The line is a shell of its former self, the runningbacks are slow or injury prone and the receiving corps lacks depth--with or without Chad Johnson.

The 2005 season was eons ago. Somehow.

It's tough to give anyone in the second round the label of savior, but Cal WR DeSean Jackson may have been close. Okay, even I can't convince myself of that, but I really like the guy, and he brings things to the table that this team craves (i.e., explosiveness and A+ punt returning skills).

Once in this space, and a million times over the last three years, I've described DeSean Jackson as Peter Warrick with speed. The more I think about it, that might be the best comparison I've ever made between two athletes.

Watch Jackson's punt return TD versus Tennessee last season. Focus on the replay, especially the 2:05 mark.

Most of you know this, some of you do not...but I am not an NFL GM.

But if I were, one of my hard and fast rules would be this: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS draft a player who can cut backwards three yards and get back to full speed before you can say Anbesol.

You just don't see feet like that, even in the NFL.


What's the worst case scenario with Jackson? I'd say he's a Pro Bowl punt returner. Again, at worst. As great as Ted Ginn was on the college level as a punt returner, Jackson was better. The dude returned 6 of his first 27 for touchdowns. Think about that for a second.

The Bengals have craved game-breaking ability on special teams for years, and Jackson--a first round talent who slipped because he's 5'9, 170 lbs.--was staring them in the face after slipping to the middle of the second round. Whatever.

And listen, if Jackson was only a return man, I can understand passing him over. But he's not. He was bloody productive in a power conference as a WR.

DeSean Jackson will be a force in the NFL.

-Brad Spieser (