I promise an embargo on all tractor references after using two in the past day and a half. Instead, I’ll focus on glimpses of the Bengals draft picks in rounds four through seven and a final grade of the Bengals draft. First, the profiles:
Geno Atkins – DT, Georgia - Pass rushing tackle who could be the eventual replacement for Tank Johnson.
Roddrick Muckelroy – LB, Texas - Smart player with good instincts who led a talented team in tackles for two straight years. Great pick.
Otis Hudson – OT, Eastern Illinois – College tackle who is being viewed as a guard on the next level.
Dezmon Brsicoe – WR, Kansas - Good athlete with good size who would have gone higher if not for a shoplifting arrest and a one-game team suspension. Another character risk – talent reward pick.
Reginald Stephens – OG, Iowa State – Huge run blocker who will face an uphill climb to make the team.
Overall grade: B
Comments: Cincinnati once again loaded up with talent from big-time programs and took a few gambles on players with perceived character issues. The team addressed all of its major needs without reaching for players. After all the glowing praise about his blocking potential, I’m viewing Jermaine Gresham as a better pick than I had thought earlier. I’m still questioning the use of multiple early picks on tight ends (Gresham this year, Chase Coffman last year), but New England took two in this draft alone (Arizona’s Rob Gronkowski, Florida’s Aaron Hernandez). I love Carlos Dunlap and Dezmon Briscoe for their athleticism and value, but I think it would be wise to be proactive in regard to potential problems (I think the team should hold its own programs for alcohol and other issues). I like Rodderick Muckelroy as a possible addition to the Rivers – Rey Rey linebacking corps and I trust line coach Paul Alexander on his lineman even though they come without stellar pedigrees. I think Brandon Ghee can fit in the team’s safety-corner plans and Jordan Shipley has good value in the red zone and on return teams. Overall, the team’s grade would be higher if it weren’t for those few characer blemishes, but it’s pretty much impossible to avoid all character risks and still get good value for each pick. Plus, the team also added kicker Mike Nugent, a beloved Buckeye hero who might regain some of his magic in the Birthplace of Aviation. Bengals fans should be excited about their draftees and I’d expect pretty good grades across the board from the pundits. We shall see soon. Now brace yourself for the calm before the storm of June minicamp. Let’s keep everyone sober, shall we?