Its been two weeks since the 2012 NFL Draft ended, but that hasn’t stopped the high praise of what the Bengals were able to accomplish on draft day. Ryan McCrystal of Draft Ace just got his Bengals review in and he had the highest praise of any draft analyst I’ve seen:
The Cincinnati Bengals put together the best draft class, at least on paper, that I have ever seen in the nine years I’ve been covering the draft. Of their 10 selections, I gave a 3rd-round grade or better to eight players, and the other two received 4th-round evaluations. This was the best draft class of the year, and there isn’t a close second.
From top to bottom this was the strongest draft class. The Bengals landed better players in the 5th and 6th round than some teams landed in the 2nd and 3rd. They upgraded their depth at multiple positions and are now poised to make a serious run at the Steelers and Ravens. If this class pans out as expected, there will be a new powerhouse in the AFC North within the next three years.
Before the Bengals can win games in the regular season on a consistent basis, they have to learn how to win the offseason, something they haven’t done much of in the past decade as they’ve dealt with off-the-field problems stemming from Chad Ochocinco’s mouth, to multiple player arrests, to drafting players who turned out to be busts right off the bat. Last year the Bengals were winners in the draft and the offseason for the most part, as they re-signed many of their key veterans and got rid of Chad and put a new emphasis on character over talent. It led to an unexpected 9-win season and a playoff berth. The Bengals have been huge winners this offseason, and it should translate into a good 2012 season