You know a team is in good position when they go into the draft with the ability to select the best player available in any round, within reason. When teams can draft the best player available, it means they have the majority of holes in their roster already filled and they are just adding depth and talent to an already deep and talented roster. In reality, no team enters the draft without at least one or two needs and the Bengals aren't an exception. They have needs, but depending on their ability to re-sign a few key players, they can avoid depending on the draft to fill holes and just add depth and talent instead.
The two big names are obvious: left tackle Andre Smith and defensive end Michael Johnson. Smith became the team's best overall offensive lineman in 2012 and bringing him back would keep a young and talented offensive line in tact. Losing him could be devastating and would force the Bengals to replace him in the draft with a high pick (or pay to have a free agent that isn't quite as good to come to town).
Johnson waited until his contract year to have the biggest season of his four-year career. He was second on the team in sacks with 11.5 and proved that he can be a solid presence on the defensive line and can not only play against the run but pressure the quarterback. Keeping players that are able to pressure a quarterback is such a vital part of winning in today's NFL. Due to the fact that it's a passing league, applying pressure to a quarterback makes the secondary's job much easier as they don't have to cover talented wide receivers and tight ends for nearly as long.
Bengals Ability To Re-Sign Players Will Determine 2013 NFL Draft Plan
Cincy Jungle | Jan 22