The 2013 NFL Draft reviews are quickly pouring in, and by the look of things, the Cincinnati Bengals are once again drawing the praises of many for their draft class.
Welcome to the Jungle, where the Bengals have buried their bungling, and done it with offense. See Notre Dame mismatch-creating tight end Tyler Eifert and North Carolina speed back Giovani Bernard. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green got it going in ’11, and Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones were good follow-ups in ’12. Eifert and Bernard are great options for Dalton to further break out of his Green dependency. They also made their defensive strength stronger, as SMU’s 6-8 Estonian end Margus Hunt fits right in with their pass rush. Georgia’s Shawn Williams fills free safety.
Best Pick: Margus Hunt
Hunt has the ability to develop in to an incredible player in this league. If the Bengals would have bought in to the hype of him going in the late first-round, that would have been a major mistake. Instead, they waited patiently and addressed to major areas of need on the offensive side of the ball before making Hunt the pick and maximizing his talent.
Analysis: The Bengals did a very good job in this year’s draft by addressing key needs early and then adding hard-working players in the later rounds. Their first five selections in 2013 could go on to be major contributors in the next few years, while the selections in the final rounds add good depth to weaker positions and hungry players who will be fighting for a chance to make an NFL roster.
The Bengals somehow didn’t address a pretty big need early (and they don’t have many) and still really impressed me. The pick of Tyler Eifert is just a steal (I had him No. 8 on my final Big Board). You have a good QB, but a limited one — Andy Dalton isn’t going to carve teams up down the field. But with A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham and Eifert, you have guys that don’t need to be open to be thrown to. Try dealing with all three on the field in the red zone. Eifert to Cincy is a great case of a team simply pouncing when the value gets too good.
Giovani Bernard gives them a new dimension in the run game, ironically because he can actually catch the ball. He was the most versatile RB on my board, and getting the first RB taken at No. 37 overall isn’t bad. The Bengals D-line continues to be filled with long, athletic freaks with the addition of Margus Hunt. I know Hunt’s a project, but he’s a great bet at No. 53 overall. He can almost block enough kicks to justify that pick given how weirdly effective he is at it.