Monday, April 27, 2009

Grading the Bengals Draft

There are a lot of people who believe you cannot truly grade an NFL draft class until after five years. Which is a very valid argument, the "studs" of this draft class may turn out to be duds, only time will tell. But we still take a time to grade the draft, which is exactly what we at NKYSportsWorld will do:

Bengals Draft Grade: B- The Bengals landed a huge OT in Andre Smith in the first round with Eugene Monroe still on the board. We will be watching this to unfold throughout the years as negativity spread about Smith's maturity after the season. But most indications were that Smith was the #1 OT on their board. There is a huge upside, and you cannot discount what he did on the field for Alabama. USC LB Rey Maualuga was projected for many to be a first rounder but fell down the draft board to the Bengals in the second round, some say that Maualuga has some bad habits of roaming and losing focus on his position. But Maualuga can bring that swagger and intensity to the AFC North and a Bengals defense who has been lacking that vocal leader.
Smith and Maualuga along with DE Michael Johnson, TE Chase Coffman, and P Kevin Huber were all great picks at their position in the draft. Questions can be raised surrounding Bernard Scott, RB out of Abiline Christian. His numbers may be a little lower for the Bengals only having five arrests on his record thus far. An evening with Chris Henry could help pull those numbers up! Overall the Bengals drafted for their needs, with all of us scratching our heads last year in the second round and beyond we can be optimistic this year that we filled some voids that this team needed to fill.

Here is what some others had to say:

ESPN's Mel Kiper: B
The Bengals had a lot of picks and they did a good job getting good quality with their quantity. Andre Smith, Rey Maualuga and Michael Johnson are great ways to start a draft for any team. These guys could fill big holes for the Bengals. The fourth-round selection of offensive lineman Jonathan Luigs was a little high, but it wasn't crazy. The late-round picks weren't anything to write home about, but they did a good job of getting strength in numbers and getting some depth for their team.

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco: B+
For a team that has been ripped for poor drafting the past decade or so, they did a really nice job. This draft might just make them a playoff team.

Sporting News' Clifton Brown: A
Love this draft, if tackle Andre Smith and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga keep their heads on straight. Smith might be the best tackle, and Maualuga has first-round talent. Defensive end Michael Johnson is highly skilled but must be more consistent, and tight end Chase Coffman could be a nice target for Carson Palmer.

NBC: B -
Was there every any doubt the Bengals would draft the player with the most off-field question marks? Left tackle Andre Smith is a massive talent, but is massive risk for an undisciplined team. He fills a huge position of need, and second-round pick USC Rey Maualuga was a great value, adding toughness to an emerging defense. Cincy went boom or bust with other picks like DE Michael Johnson and RB Bernard Scott, who was been arrested five times! The Bengals just can?t change their stripes.

USA Today's Larry Weisman: B
OT Andre Smith carries question marks, but he is a superior blocker. LB Rey Maualuga slipped into the second round and should bring toughness to the middle of a leaky run defense. Some saw DE Michael Johnson as a first-round talent, and the Bengals got him in the third. TE Chase Coffman is a steal in the third.

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