In looking at the Bengals’ stellar 2012 draft it’s hard to pick out any one player from the bunch who might have the most immediate impact for their team. While speculative in essence, it’s still usually easier to just say whoever they drafted with their 1st round pick will make the biggest splash. Thanks to former Raiders coach Hue Jackson (now back with the Bengals coaching staff), Cincinnati was able to snag two first round selections in CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama) and G Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin) both oh whom could see a lot of action right away. So let me start by whittling the list down to the top possibilities.
Just Missing the Cut:
DT Devon Still- A 6’5 305lb monster from Penn State, who some were surprised to see fall to the 53rd pick, was a Nagurski finalist last year. He made numerous impact plays in his opponents backfield all year and knows how to wrap up and tackle. I’m leaving him out of my top 3 because he’s in a deep rotation of guys on the defensive line and he may see limited time compared to the other draft picks.
FS George Iloka- The Boise State product teeters on the brink of safety and linebacker. He’s just the type of safety Mike Zimmer loves to utilize, but he could take time to develop.
TE Orson Charles- When the Bengals selected the University of Georgia they added another former SEC player to their roster (that’s 21 if they sign Charles & Kirkpatrick). While he was once the highest rated tight end prospect, his character issues saw him drop to the Bengals with the 1st pick in the 4th round. He has the talent to make an impact but we probably won’t see enough this year to crown him the biggest impact rookie as he’ll be behind Jermaine Gresham and Donald Lee on the depth chart.