The Cincinnati Bengals just had another draft class being widely praised by draft experts everywhere.
Where have we heard that before?
It seems as though that’s been a recurring theme over the past 4-5 years as owner Mike Brown has slowly given more control of scouting and drafting duties to his coaching staff and scouts. This new-found dedication to building a stronger scouting department has lead to great draft classes that routinely produce the core of team expected to be back in the playoffs in 2013 and possibly contend for a Super Bowl title.
Mike Ridley of football Outsiders did an in-depth breakdown of every major draft analyst’s grades for NFL teams in how they did in this year’s draft, and if it was apparent before, the national media was in love with the Bengals’ draft class, as they had the 2nd-best overall rating of every combined draft grade behind only the San Francisco 49ers:
2. Cincinnati Bengals
Highest Grade: A (Brugler, Prisco, Davis)
Lowest Grade: B- (Cole)
Comments: For the second straight year, the Bengals find themselves at, or near the top of the draft report cards, proving last year’s GPA of 4.11 may not have been a fluke after all. All three analysts who gave A’s loved the fit of Giovanni Bernard in the Bengals offense. They also thought they added some quality depth in the later rounds, particularly Margus Hunt. Cole essentially echoed the comments of the other three, but was not as kind regarding the pick of Tyler Eifert when the Bengals already have Jermaine Gresham.
A B- was their lowest grade. That used to be worthy of a parade in Cincinnati during the 90′s and 00′s when any draft pick that turned out to be a reliable starter (Dan Wilkinson) was the best fans could hope for when faced with the thought of an epic failure (Akili Smith). Now, it’s expected that at least two, and probably more players from each class will wind up being reliable starters someday, and one could turn out to be another franchise player like Geno Atkins in the 4th-round of the ’10 draft has become.
The Bengals managed to finish just ahead of the AFC North-rival Baltimore Ravens (#3), while the Cleveland Browns came close to having the worst overall draft ranking of anyone (#31).
Want more Bengals NFL Draft coverage year-round? Check out me and former Stripe Hypers Vance & Meek, and Sean O’Donnell at DraftBengals.com, the newest and only Cincinnati Bengals/NFL Draft-based website for 365 days a year.