1 (18) Leon Hall, db, Michigan
2 (49) Kenny Irons, rb, Auburn. (out for season)
4 (114) Marvin White, db, TCU.
5 (151) Jeff Rowe, qb, Nevada.
6 (187) Matt Toeaina, dt, Oregon.
7 (230) Dan Santucci, c, Notre Dame.
7 (253) Nedu Ndukwe, db, Notre Dame.
CINCINNATI SUCKS BECAUSE:
They've taken a bad uniform and made it progressively worse. Cincy's original uniforms were basically the Cleveland Browns' unis with a little more red in them. This was supposedly thanks to coach Paul Brown's desire to beat his former team at their own game in any way. Then, all of a sudden, there were stripes on the helmet and on the uniform, and on the pants, and oh! the humanity. Now, it's the worst of all worlds – a orangy-red jersey that reminds you of puking, stripes on the helmet, a zubaz-like stripe on the pants and a weird new font. Even Ocho-Cinqo can't make that thing look good.
CINCINNATI RULES BECAUSE:
It's all about the Johnsons. Until they ruined everything by cutting backup QB Doug Johnson, the Bengals had five – count em – five Johnsons on the er, staff. Chad and Rudi are the big guys, but don't forget fullback Jeremi and OLB Landon. Do they need a new punter? Lee Johnson must still be keeping his 42-year-old leg warm. How about Jimmy Johnson to replace Marvin Lewis for next year? And folk-funker Jack Johnson to sing the national anthem on opening day. We could go on, but our collective Johnsons can't take any more of this.
BENGAL SHIVERING ON THE COLD SEAT:
Head coach Marvin Lewis.
Lewis got an awful lot of credit for Baltimore's defensive success, but it's worth noting that while the Baltimore D train has kept rolling, Lewis's new ride hasn't. In 2002 with Washington, his Redskins unit was 21st in total defense. In four years with Cincy? It's been 28th, 22nd, 21st and 17th. A positive trend in Cincy, but still five straight subpar ranks. With all the struggles off the field – and three .500 seasons – only the franchise's amazing lack of success in the past has kept Lewis safe. It's playoffs or bust for Lewis this year.
WHAT THE FACTS TELL US:
2006 "Real Wins" (based on point differential): 9.1 (tied for 10th)
The Bengals are a heck of a fantasy football team but a middling real football team. Their defense was quite poor by any measure a year ago, and they'll be facing a tough slate of offenses this year – the NFC West, plus the tough North teams. They made no move to improve anything, and their hope of getting LBs David Pollack and Odell Thurman back came up snake eyes. So it's all on the offense – which lost two starting linemen and has both starting tackles nursing injuries. Add the absence of WR Chris Henry (9 TDs) for eight games and a season-ending injury to No. 2 pick RB Kenny Irons, and this is a thin, one-sided team going the wrong way. Let the hate mail begin
COLD, HARD PREDICTION: 4-12, fourth in the AFC North