*************2016 NFL DRAFT GRADES************

1.24 William Jackson, CB, Houston

Did they get a receiver? No. But they got the best player left on the board.

A

2.55 Tyler Boyd, WR, Pitts

This is how teams draft well. The top receivers were gone before their 1st pick, so rather than panicking and just drafting someone they waited until the 2nd round and got a good talent.

A

3.87 Nick Vigil, LB, Utah State

Another very good talent for them. He doesn't feel like a Bengal name, but that isn't a bad thing at all

OVERALL GRADE: B++

I really like this draft for them. They also stole Andrew Billings in the 4th round who was talented enough to go in the late first.

*************2015 NFL DRAFT GRADES************

1.21 Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, TAMU

Can't complain too much here. He is a slight reach because he might have to redshirt a year to get back to the top-5 talent he was last year, but the Bengals actually have that luxury. 

B

2.53 Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon

This team is really covering its ass for next year when they have some decisions to make. I love it, but I do hope that these first two picks get some playing time (even if it is inside) to build themselves. Fisher is a huge value here though.

A-

3.85 Tyler Kroft, TE, Rutgers

Kroft is a little more of a blocker which adds to the protection the Bengals have drafted thus far.

B

3.99 Paul Dawson, MLB, TCU

He is one of those guys that you love the film on, but he doesn't add up in the underwear test. Good value though.

B+

4.120 Josh Shaw, CB, USC

4.135 Marcus Hardison, DE, Arizona State

5.157 CJ Uzomah, TE, Auburn

6.197 Derron Smith, S, Fresno St

7.238 Mario Alford, WR, West Virginia

OVERALL GRADE: A-

It's hard not to like this one. Nothing is sexy, but the team found possibly two bookend tackles for 2016 that will get some reps next year. Add in some defensive depth and overall not bad.


*************2014 NFL DRAFT GRADES************
 

1.24 Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

This might be the best pick of the draft. Dennard is the best man corner in the draft and he fell 5-10 picks too far to a team that he will play and start on.

A+

2.55 Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU

I don't get the hate for this pick that some have. Hill adds a young, power punch that the team needs, and nobody thinks the Law Firm will be there much longer.

B+

3.88 Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia

I get this pick, but the team didn't need to reach on Clarke here.

C

4.111 Russell Bodine, C, UNC

5.164 AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama

6.212 Marquis Flowers, LB, Arizona

7.239 James Wright, WR, LSU

7.252 Lavelle Westbrooks, CB, Geo Southern


OVERALL GRADE:B+

I don't understand the hate of a lot of their picks. The Bengals got a ton of good depth, two or three possible starters, and guys that will contribute on both sides of the ball.


*************2013 NFL DRAFT GRADES************


1.21 Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

I like the move but I don't love it. Eifert fits the value, but we will have to see if this is a slight upgrade on Jermaine Gresham or whether they will commit to a two TE set. If it is a two TE set then I love the move, but an upgrade might hurt the team more.

A or C (depending)

2.37 Giovanni Bernard, RB, UNC

And the first runner in the draft was: Giovanni Bernard. In all reality I do like Bernard, but I just don't see him as a 15 carry guy in the league. Either way the team got a new dimension.

C+

2.53 Margus Hunt, DE, SMU

I am going to be biased on this since I think Hunt will be the best defensive linemen from this draft if put in the right spot, but I love this pick. Hunt is a stud and he goes to a great defensive team that will know how to use him well.

A

3.84 Shawn Williams, S, Georgia

This is way too early for Williams. He is a guy with good potential, and he will add depth, but there were better guys out there all over the draft.

D 


4.118 Sean Porter, OLB, TAMU

5.156 Tanner Hawkinson, OT, Kansas

6.190 Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska

6.197 Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas

7.240 Reid Fragel, OT, Ohio State

7.251 T.J Johnson, C, South Carolina


OVERALL GRADE: B-/A-

If the Bengals switch to a two TE set then this draft is an A- because of their first three picks. A team that has made the playoffs twice may have found three starters (or at worst high touch skill players), with a very good blend of depth.
 

*************2012 NFL DRAFT GRADES************ 

1.17 Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

The Bengals wanted a corner badly, and they got quite possibly the best one in the draft. Good value, and a good pick.

B+

1.27 Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin

The team traded down and got a 3rd for it, so It's hard to hate the fact that they reached a bit for Zeitler. Overall they hit a big need and got Brandon Thompson for free for it.

B+

2.53 Devon Still, DT, Penn State

Still was once a very high pick, but he really dropped off a mountain in terms of draft stock this off season. A decent pick up though, but where does he really fit in in terms of need?



3.83 Mohammed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

The team was certainly looking to pick up a receiver to plug into the mix, and they got a decent one in Sanu who could have gone in the top-40.

A-

3.93 Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

It's hard to hate a pick that was free, but this is the DT4 for the team. The team would have been better off getting a better need filler, but Thompson's value was great.

B

4.116 Orson Charles, TE, Georgia

Charles was a top-40 pick before he got a DUI during the draft process, so his potential is great.

B

5.156 Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa

Prater doesn't have any elite assets, but he has the potential to be a very good nickel corner in the league.

B+

5.166 Marvin Jones, WR, California

Some had Jones in their top-100 because he didn't have the QB in college to excel him, so the Bengals may get a steal here.

B

5.167 George Iloka, S, Boise State

I am genuinely half shocked that Iloka lasted this long. He by no means is a sexy pick from a combine perspective, but his tape has some nasty moments.

B

6.191 Dan Herron, RB, Ohio State

Another good Bengal pick. Herron has top-50 potential on the field.

A


OVERALL GRADE: C

WHAT? The worst grade that the Bengals got was a B on any pick, so how is their draft a C? The Bengals are a talented team that got great value on almost all of their picks. They walk away with 2-3 starters next year, and most think that they team had one of the best drafts. But was this the draft that will take them from a playoff team to a playoff contender? I'm not sold. The team needs playmakers and stars to their team, and outside of Kirkpatrick the team got a lot of good depth.

But what bothers me is their process. They traded back to the back of the first round for a pick that eventually led to Brandon Thompson (their 2nd DT pick), but trading back allowed the Steelers to get the best guard prospect in awhile. Which is better, the best guard prospect in awhile, or a DT4 and (maybe) a top-40 guard? I'll take DeCastro. 

The team then used a 2nd and a 3rd round pick on defensive tackles which was maybe their 5th biggest need. The team had good picks, but it doesn't mean that they had a good draft. They are still the obvious 3rd best team in their division, and they had better hope that Andy Dalton's skill set wasn't a fluke.

 
 
 
 
*************2011 NFL DRAFT GRADES************ 
 
Picks

1:4 AJ Green, WR, Georgia

AJ Green was the second BPA, and fills one of the team's biggest needs.

A

2:35 Andy Dalton, QB, TCU

I don't personally like Dalton, but he is a possible replacement for Carson Palmer.

B

3:66 Dontay Moch, DE or SLB, Nevada

The team wanted edge rushers and they definitely got a guy with a lot of potential at a good value.

B

4:101 Clint Boling, OT/G, Georgia

Great pick, fits a need, and great value. The team is building around their quarterback.

A+
 
5:134 Robert Sands, S, West Virginia

Robert Sands fits the athletic mold that the Bengals enjoy playing with for their safeties. 

B
 
6:167 Ryan Whalen, WR, Stanford

I love that the team took two receivers in the draft. I don't see the value on Whalen, but I can't take too many points off for trying.

C+
 
7:207 Korey Lindsay, CB, Southern Illinois

Wow. Lindsay is arguably the best small school corner this year, and he gets taken as a 7th rounder. 

A+ 


7:246 Jay Finley, RB, Baylor

 I don't love the pick because I don't know what Finley offers to the team, but I always like a team taking a late round flyer on a guy that can contribute.

C+

Draft Grade A-

The Bengals made sure to improve both sides of the ball, and they made sure to cover their butts too by selecting Andy Dalton. If Carson Palmer actually finds his way back to the team he will love the upgrades on offense. If he doesn't, then the team is able to offer Andy Dalton the keys to a pretty awesome ride.

NEW GRADE: A-

I actually am sticking with the original grade here. It is strange, but it might be the worst AFC North draft despite having a great draft.