Four charged in overdose death Underage felonies strain county system Fayetteville looks forward to 2018 celebration Russellville council discusses underground tanks in village Marilyn A Wren Larry E Carter Virginia L McQuitty Practices get underway for fall sports Jays soon to begin quest for SHAC title Western Brown to hold Meet the Teams Night and OHSAA parent meeting Aug. 8 Norville F Hardyman Carol J Tracy James Witt Hundreds of Narcan doses used in 2016 Heavy weekend rain causes flooding and damaged roads Child Focus hosts Chamber of Commerce meeting Mary F McElroy Broncos out to defend SBAAC American Division soccer title Bronco 5K to take place Aug. 5 EHS volleyball team ready for new season Michael C Cooper Raymond Mays Harry E Smittle Jr Mary A Flaugher Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Cecil N Graham Sawyers charged in sex for heroin plot Group demands changes at ELSD Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann Kids enjoy a ‘Touch-a-Truck’ event in Mt. Orab New police chief takes over in Fayetteville BC Chamber moving forward on 2017 SummerFest Two killed in wrong way crash in Mt. Orab Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Corbin testifies before Ohio Senate Five arrested in Hamersville drug bust Neil Diamond tribute band coming Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors

Bengals’ needs make NFL Draft interesting

By Garth Shanklin – News Democrat

For the first time in a while, it may be a great week to be a Cincinnati sports fan.

First, the Cubs have finally left town. The Reds don’t face them for two more months, and given how the first two series went, that’s a very good thing.

Also, and perhaps even more importantly, there’s a little event this weekend called the NFL Draft.

I’m not sure how many people watch the draft as closely as I do. There was a five-year stretch where I didn’t miss a single pick, from #1 all the way to Mr. Irrelevant. That streak was broken last year, since I had to work that Saturday morning, but if all goes well I hope to restart it this year.

There are probably a rather large number of you out there wondering why I torment myself with hours of Chris Berman talking nonsense about things: I don’t. I usually mute the television or watch the broadcast on NFL Network. I’m pretty sure that decision has added years onto my life.

As for the more general question of why I, or anyone else for that matter, would watch the entire draft to begin with, I don’t have an answer for that. Seven million people watched the first day of the NFL draft last year on ESPN. The prior year saw a total of 45.7 million people tune in for the event.

Why do people tune in? Some likely watch just because of the NFL’s dominance in the television landscape. If the shield is on television, they’re tuning in. Some watch because it’s a way to get a head start on the upcoming fantasy season. I don’t know why anyone chooses to watch it, especially when you can find out all of the picks on Twitter minutes before they’re announced on television.

Regardless of the rationale behind tuning in to the event, it’s a safe bet that numerous Bengals fans from across the nation will be watching, if not the entire draft then at the very least the first round. For the first time since the lockout in 2011, the Bengals have actual first-round needs.

Let’s look back at 2012. The Bengals had two picks in the first round that year, one of which came from Oakland in what is to date the only breaking sports news that has made me drop what I was holding when I first heard the report.

Of the main needs the Bengals had at the time, corner and guard were chiefly among them. The team took Dre Kirkpatrick with their first pick in the round, then traded down and selected Kevin Zeitler with their second. Zeitler started right away for the team, Kirkpatrick took time to develop and has only recently expanded his role.

2013 saw the team in need of defensive help, at least according to CincyJungle.com. The site listed the Bengals’ top three needs as linebacker, safety and running back. The team took tight end Tyler Eifert with their first pick that year.

In 2014, cornerback and the offensive line were again key points of contention for the squad entering the offseason. The Bengals chose Darqueze Dennard in the first round and took Jeremy Hill in the second.

The team’s list of needs in 2015 were my favorite. According to NFL.com, the squad needed secondary help at both corner and safety as well as a placekicker. If a kicker is one of your team’s top three needs, you’re either doing things extremely well or you forgot to sign a kicker before last season.

At any rate, most of the Bengals’ draft strategy of late has revolved around taking the best player available. Sure, they have needs, but none of the needs were so glaring they had to reach for an immediate starter. The players that currently start sat behind other players until they got their shot, meaning the team hasn’t had to find an immediate impact player since the drafting of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green in 2011.

That changes this year. Back in January, before the unrestricted free agency period began, the Bengals’ top need per NFL.com was a wide receiver. There were other needs, primarily at linebacker and center, but with four players on the cusp of free-agency it was clear pass-catchers were needed.

Then free agency actually came and two of the four receivers left. If the season were to begin right now, Green and Brandon LaFell would be the team’s top two receivers. Brandon Tate would be third. There are very few things in life that scare me more than the potential phrase “starting wide receiver Brandon Tate,” so wide receiver is suddenly a pressing need.

The position may lack an elite talent, according to some sites, but the depth should in theory be enough to give the Bengals some solid options when their pick comes on the board. It’ll be impossible to tell which wideout falls to Cincinnati, however. One of the better decisions the NFL made in recent years was the rookie wage slotting system for the draft, which both speeds up signing and allows draft picks to be traded easier.

The top two picks have already been dealt, and it’s impossible to tell what moves are next. That is why I watch the draft: you can make all the plans in the world, but you can’t account for Buffalo taking E.J. Manual in the middle of the first round or your rival trading up to snag the player you coveted the most. The first day of the draft is fun and exciting, and the fact that the Bengals have an actual need this time makes it all the more important.

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