The midseason trade of disgruntled quarterback Carson Palmer has the Bengals in excellent position to add to their impressive young talent base in this draft. With nine total picks presently in hand, including both the 17th and 21st overall choices after shrewdly obtaining Oakland's first-rounder for Palmer last October, Cincinnati has the chance to both fill its most pressing needs and continue to build on this past year's surprising success. There's a possible opening at strong safety following the recent release of nine-year pro Chris Crocker, as it's unclear if ex-49ers castoff Taylor Mays is a viable long-term solution, and at wide receiver if the team doesn't bring back the still-unsigned Jerome Simpson due to off-field concerns. The Bengals also lost two key members of their defensive line rotation in end Frostee Rucker and swingman Jonathan Fanene, so a high selection could be earmarked for that area even after the offseason additions of former first-round busts Jamaal Anderson and Derrick Harvey. With a few age issues at cornerback and all three projected starters at linebacker slated to hit free agency at season's end, the later rounds could be used to help cover the bases at those spots.
2011 Record: 9-7
Top Needs: WR, S, DE
First Three Picks: No. 17, No. 21, No. 53
Number of Selections: 9 (1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6)
RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2011 - A.J. Green (WR, Georgia); 2010 - Jermaine Gresham, TE (Oklahoma); 2009 - Andre Smith (OT, Alabama); 2008 - Keith Rivers (LB, USC); 2007 - Leon Hall (CB, Michigan); 2006 - Johnathan Joseph (CB, South Carolina); 2005 - David Pollack (OLB, Georgia); 2004 - Chris Perry (RB, Michigan); 2003 - Carson Palmer (QB, Southern Cal).