Monday, May 9, 2011

NFL Draft Team Grades-Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have issues. They have losing issues. They have character issues. They have any kind of issue that you can dream of. Carson Palmer wants out. Marvin Lewis has taken a beating from every corner. Some wonder why he is still the coach here. Some wonder why the front office has not insisted on more. In many ways, this was a make or break draft for them, as it should be a make or break season for this entire franchise. Let's take a look at what the Bengals did to start off on the right foot...

Round 1, Pick 4
AJ Green, WR

If you are upset over having taken a WR here over a QB, don't be. There was not a QB worthy of selection in the first half of the first round this season, do this was exactly what the Bengals should have done. Green has been hyped by many, but I don't entirely buy it about him. That being said, he was one of the two best available receivers in what was a thin draft. Green caught 57 passes for 848 yards and 9 TDs in 2010, and those numbers were extremely similar to what he did in 2009. What you get here, is consistency, but not what I would call greatness. When I look at 1st round talent in the top ten, I just expect more. The skill is there, so let's see what happens. He did grade out here, so good job there.
Grade: B+

Round 2, Pick 3
Andy Dalton, QB

Want to start to repair your team bad boy image? I can't think of any better place to start than this. Extremely high character guy who knows how to lead by example. Seriously good guy. Want to change your image as a loser? No better place to start than this. Dalton is a winner. Graduated with a 42-7 record and was 2 time Mountain West Player of the Year. This is the guy who is going to make it perfectly ok to get rid of Palmer, and he'll be a better locker room presence. This guy could be the best Bengal QB in two decades.
Grade: A+

Round 3, Pick 2
Dontay Moch, DE/LB

Led the Wolfpack in 2010 with 22 TFLs. Added 8.5 sacks and 64 tackles on the season. Has 42 TFLs for the last two seasons. He is an incredible edge guy who brings a high energy motor and makes the plays. A perfect disruptor who can fire up the Bengals defense. He had the potential to be drafted higher due to his high end speed, but he has some work to do to learn to be a full-time LB. Fits perfectly into the Bengals scheme. This could be a home run pick.
Grade: A

Round 4, Pick 4
Clint Boling, OG/OT

Another solid pick by the Benglas. Boling has experience playing all over the line, but he could develop into the future blind side protector of Dalton. Has solid experience for Georgia, and in the immediate future, gives the Bengals depth on their line at both guard and tackle. With good coaching, Boling could be a star.
Grade: A

Round 5, Pick 3
Robert Sands, FS
West Virginia

Built for the part at FS. That being said, he is not exceptionally strong, and his ball skills are questionable. Was not a high production guy, as he only had 1 pick, no passes broken up, and had under 60 tackles. Will have to learn how to stay in his zone, as he was a "Rover" in WVU's 3-3-5 defense. He is still developing in many ways, and will have to be coached up. He graded right where the Bengals took him, so what they have is a guy who fits the spot, and may give them a decent special teams gunner. An ok pick. Feels like a safe pick.
Grade: C

Round 6, Pick 2
Ryan Whalen, WR

Here he is folks! The new Brandon Stokely! That is exactly who Whalen reminds me of. Whalen did not have huge numbers last season, but he was the #2 option in Stanford's offense. He is an excellent possession receiver who will make the important grabs, and is built to take the hits. He is has the qualities to give Dalton a receiver that can be depended on to get that extra yardage. Very nice value here.
Grade: A

Round 7, Pick 4
Korey Lindsey, CB
Southern Illinois

Lindsey was grabbed as a potential dimeback abd special teams guy. He does not have the intangibles to be a starting corner, but will give you exceptional value as a return guy and kick cover man. He does have some skill as a reserve corner, and is not afraid of making a play coming at him, and he is avery good intelligence and recognition skills. He graded as a priority free agent, but I make an exception to his being selected, as he does bring some value to the table. Hard worker.
Grade: C

Round 7, Pick 43 (Compensatory Pick)
Jay Finley, RB

I love this pick this late in the draft. Finley should have gone higher in my opinion, so I give the Bengals mad props for going after him here. Good recognition by the front office to be able to grab this guy. You may think that Baylor was all Robert Griffin last season, but Finley made his own way and rushed for 1218 yards and scored 12 times. Teams may have been scared off due to the fact that he only has one season of that kind of production. I disagree with that fear, as when Griffin went down with a knee injury in 2009, Finley faced defenses that were stacked to the hilt to stuff him. Not his fault. I love this guy!
Grade: A

Potential Surprise Player
Finley, Whalen, Boling

Potential Flops

Sure To Be a Star
Green, Dalton, Moch

Sure To Be a Flop

Final Team GPA
3.38...Solid honors
If the Bengals are seriously trying to reverse their recent course of action, then this draft class will be the starting point. The Bengals did a superb job here, now the staff just has to find ways to properly use the talent that they have collected here. There are as many as 4 potential starters in this group. Excellent job here.

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