Draft grades have been flowing in, and the national consensus is that Cincinnati Bengals earned a very positive grade this year. But what does our staff make of the draft? Well, we got some of them to answer this very question:
“How would you grade the Cincinnati Bengals 2013 draft class?”
If you ask me, grading the draft three days after it is over is incredibly premature. These guys have yet to put on pads and have probably not even gotten have way through their play books, if they’ve even gotten them. If I were to grade our draft based solely on how it looks on paper, I would have to give us a B+.
First of all, I absolutely love the Eifert pick. I think what he’ll bring to the offense as a weapon will helpDaltonmove the ball effectively and improve as a quarterback. I also believe that he will eventually replaceGreshamas the #1 option at tight end, but that’s a story for another day. Giovani Bernard was my favorite pick in this draft, and I think he could be the missing piece our offense desperately needed. Our mammoth-of-a-person third pick, Margus Hunt, will help bolster our already stacked defensive line and could possibly replace Michael Johnson or Carlos Dunlap if we fail to get one of them signed.
The rest of our picks were picks for depth, which I liked. I think Shaun Williams could be a talented player, and I also think Cobi Hamilton could be the Armon Binns of this offseason. That is, someone who shines early in the offseason and could earn himself a spot high on the depth chart.
B+ This is not a hit on Tyler Eifert or Margus Hunt. This is purely because the Bengals did not address the strong safety position to nearly the degree that it needed to be. With three picks in the first two rounds and plenty below to burn to move up, even if just a few notches; the Bengals could have gotten a Cyprien or a Swearinger and still had breathing room to double-dip later for depth.
I find it very interesting in the single position of absolute need (strong safety), the Bengals did not double-down, which after the UDFA period they had done at almost every other position. Interestingly enough, Tony Jefferson from Oklahoma sat as a free agent for nearly 24 hours without notice. Comparatively to other late picks the Bengals went with like Tanner Hawkinson or Rex Burkhead, I’m unclear why Shawn Williams was the only selection Cincinnati made at safety.
Eifert and Hunt aren’t so much gambles as players, but rather they represent gambles on untested systems that must be put into place in order to utilize them fully. If it works, this draft is not only paradigm-breaking, but possibly true breaking of the dawn for the Bengals. If it busts, an incredible opportunity will be missed. Ironically and metaphorically, the position that was passed on also is the way I would have rather this draft have been played out: safe.