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‘Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’

I’ve taken this quote to heart. Over the course of my life, I’ve dreamed of being everything from a baseball/football player, professional wrestler (not to mention I have a fascination with ladies wrestling), chef, writer, movie director/producer, etc… Ten years ago, my big dream was to work my way into the TV industry, then eventually move to Nashville or L.A. and work in the music or movie business. Let’s just say they don’t make em like they used to. While it is nice to want to be the next Alfred Hitchcock, there is no point in reinventing the wheel.

Since my first layoff in 2001, I’ve worked a number of jobs and even went back to school thinking I would work as a paralegal. But while I enjoying reading court cases and have a good understanding of legal terminology, I’m not cut out for being stuck behind a desk or being in courtroom all day. I should note that while legal dramas like Law and Order are generally pretty good, court cases don’t get resolved in one hour. More like several years if it goes to trial at all.

Taken at Bengals-Texans game in 2005.

Having enrolled in college again a year ago, having handled videotaping duties for the football team and done some student teaching, I know for certain that coaching/teaching is the path for me. I’m keeping my options open and will relocate for the right opportunity. I also bring my insights about the world, my experience and values to the profession too.  While I love to win and enjoy making money as much as anyone else, they are not the sole reason for my being.

“The average professional career is 3.5 years. Eternity is forever. There is no comparison.” Ken Sparks

If and when I were to ever work in the NFL, I would enjoy being a scout or General Manager the most. Being an NFL scout is much like being a traveling salesman or a detective.

One scenario I often picture myself would be what if I had been the Cincinnati Bengals G.M. beginning say around 1991 or so. Technically, the team has never really had a bona fide G.M. I’ve been a Bengals fan since 1985. I turned on the T.V. and saw Boomer Esiason warming up on the sidelines. I think mostly I liked the uniforms. They then beat the Cowboys 50-24. The Bengals and Cowboys are my personal picks for the Super Bowl this year.

The Bengals were one of the most competitive teams from the mid 1980’s-1990 including a Super Bowl appearance in 1988. Most of the players who formed the nucleus of those teams aside from Anthony Munoz, Bruce Kozerski, Boomer Esiason, James Brooks, and Tim Krumrie peaked at the same time and then either fell off drastically in terms of production, were injured or left the team. This is particularly true of the players drafted between 1985-1990.

You build a foundation which almost always starts with a head coach, quarterback plus ideally some franchise or long-term players at several spots along the lines and skill positions and work to build a solid supporting cast around them.

James Francis, the Bengals 1st round pick in 1990 had a fine rookie year, then he started getting too happy on the Happy Meals. Linebacker was a need after Reggie Williams retired, but you should always draft the best player available, not the position. Otherwise, you would have to address the need later on anyways. In this case, Emmitt Smith should have been the pick to replace Ickey Woods whose complete recovery was questionable. Then the Bengals could have drafted Keith Sims with the 2nd round pick instead of Harold Green who was

one of the top running backs in that draft and he would have a few good years. Then the years of not drafting AND developing good offensive linemen took its toll especially after Max Montoya left, Munoz retired and basically the rest of the linemen weren’t getting any younger. Alfred Williams made sense and eventually he would go on to have a productive career with the Broncos. But all in all, the 1990 and 1991 drafts were just plain embarrassing. The lack of investing in a professional scouting department with a head man (or woman) to run it was starting to show an early sign of demise that would set the team back for the next 12 years.

That being said, I wouldn’t have fired Sam Wyche or traded Boomer Esiason. Instead, I would have signed them to long-term deals.

 

So that would have brought me to the 1992 draft. Since Esiason was my quarterback, I wouldn’t have drafted David Klinger. I would have been split between Troy Vincent and Bob Whitfield and probably settled it on a coin toss. Darryl Williams was a good pick, but my personal preference would have been for either John Fina or Darren Woodson especially since David Fulcher was nearing 30. So basically, I would have gone with an offensive tackle with one pick and a defensive back with the other pick.

Carl Pickens would have been an easy choice and he had a fine career. Leonard Wheeler, Ricardo McDonald and Craig Thompson were basically role players, but not much else. I would have chosen center Jeff Cristy, defensive end Keith Hamilton and linebacker Ed McDaniel with those picks.  The rest of the draft wasn’t too good either and I suppose that would be true for most of the teams.

The 1993 Draft had some good choices at offensive tackle and defensive end and I probably would have taken Willie Roaf anyways and move Whitfield or Fina to left guard. But having addressed the positions in the 1992 draft, I would have been free to choose a running back like Jerome Bettis who would have been a great compliment for Harold Green. Tony McGee, Steve Tovar and Doug Pelfrey would go on to have productive careers. There isn’t much worth mentioning about the other picks.

Having addressed the key positions for the long-term, I would have spent the 1994-1998 drafts just filling spots with the right players. Dan Wilkinson and Ki-Jana Carter were not so good. But it wouldn’t have been fatal. But to think of the players the Bengals could have chosen like Marshall Faulk, Larry Allen, or Steve McNair makes me pound my head.  Willie Anderson was a terrific pick. Takeo Spikes and Brian Simmons were good players for about 5-7 years. I wasn’t high on Reinard Wilson knowing that he was being asked to do too much for a defense that sorely needed defensive line help not to mention the coaching staff didn’t do a good job developing players.  I preferred Kenny Holmes or Dwayne Rudd.

The other draft that sticks out like a sore thumb is the 1999 NFL Draft. It was probably the deepest draft to come out in the previous 30 years, but for Bengal fans, it was a nightmare. Just how does one choose Akili Smith over Edgerrin James, Champ Bailey (my personal choice), or Chris McAlister? Of course, with the level of success that could have happened in the previous 5-7 years, the team would have been picking in the latter part of the draft for someone like Al Wilson.  Then I recall the grief that Bill Polian received over choosing Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and Reggie Wayne 🙂

Of course, hindsight is easy. But I wonder how much more successful the Bengals would have been in the 1990’s had they managed those drafts better.

Written by chrisforliberty

July 30, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Posted in General

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