Cincinnati Bengals: 2018 draft class ranks in the middle of the pack
The Cincinnati Bengals had a whopping 11 picks in the 2018 NFL Draft and only five of those players are still with the team as of this writing. Dane Brugler of The Athletic recently ranked every team’s 2018 draft class and the Bengals came in at No. 18, which seems like a fair ranking. (Note — You must be subscribed to The Athletic to read the entire article).
For those who don’t remember, here was every pick the Bengals made in 2018:
- R1(21): Billy Price, IOL (Ohio State)
- R2(54): Jessie Bates, S (Wake Forest)
- R3(77): Sam Hubbard, EDGE (Ohio State)
- R3(78): Malik Jefferson, LB (Texas)
- R4(112): Mark Walton, RB (Miami)
- R5(151): Davontae Harris, CB (Illinois State)
- R5(158): Andrew Brown, DL (Virginia)
- R5(170): Darius Phillips, CB (Western Michigan)
- R7(249): Logan Woodside, QB (Toledo)
- R7(252): Rod Taylor, OG (Ole Miss)
- R7(253): Auden Tate, WR (Florida State)
Only five players drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018 are still on the team.
While the Bengals whiffed on Billy Price, they struck gold with Jessie Bates in the second round and found some late-round gems in Darius Phillips and Auden Tate. Sam Hubbard has been fine as well but isn’t a show-stopper by any means though Brugler did list him as the team’s best value (I’d argue Tate there).
Brugler said that Bates was the best player in the draft, which everyone would agree with. He also said the biggest miss was Price, which, again, everyone is in agreement about.
The Bengals had 11 picks in the 2018 NFL Draft to try and load their squad with young, promising talent but they missed the mark by quite a bit. Sure, they hit the nail on the head with Bates but if they don’t retain him after this season, this draft will look a heck of a lot worse moving forward.
The rest of the division fared quite well in the 2018 NFL Draft and Brugler’s rankings reflected that. The Ravens were No. 1, as they landed their MVP quarterback in Lamar Jackson while also selecting Orlando Brown and Mark Andrews. Sure, Brown isn’t on their team anymore, but he was a force on their offensive line prior to being traded to Kansas City.
The Browns came in at No. 4 and they too found their franchise quarterback. Cleveland had the No. 1 overall pick that year and took Baker Mayfield, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner at the time. While Mayfield isn’t a top 10 quarterback, he’s the signal-caller the Browns need and helped get them to the playoffs. That wasn’t an easy task for Browns quarterbacks prior to him.
Pittsburgh was the only AFC North team with a worse draft class than Cincinnati, ranking No. 25 on Brugler’s list. All but one of the seven players the Steelers drafted that year are still on their roster, so the ranking is clearly an indicator of how lackluster those players have been for the most part.
While Cincinnati didn’t have a great 2018 draft class, they’ve now got their quarterback of the future and hopefully, we start seeing improvement from them as early as this year.