Bengals earn mediocre grades for 2018 draft class

Jessie Bates, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Jessie Bates, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Despite nabbing star safety Jessie Bates, the Cincinnati Bengals will want their 2018 draft back. Here’s how those draft picks have fared into 2022.

Now seems a good a time as any to grade the 2018 draft class, and the Bengals unfortunately swung and miss on most of their selections.

Cincy took center Billy Price in the first round, who they later turned into defensive tackle B.J. Hill. A solid exchange. The Bengals also took Jessie Bates and Sam Hubbard as 54th and 77th overall, two very productive players who have helped mold the team’s defense.

After that, however, the Bengals’ eight remaining draft picks have yet to make their mark on the team, and a few have since left to continue their deflated careers elsewhere.

Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton graded every NFL team’s 2018 draft haul and gave the Bengals a C- overall grade:

"First-round pick Billy Price was a massive bust, but the Bengals cut the cord in August 2021 when they wisely traded him for defensive tackle B.J. Hill. Hill immediately bolstered the Bengals defense.Missing on Price hurt the Bengals’ efforts to build a quality offensive line over his tenure, but they saved their 2018 class by landing both Jessie Bates III and Sam Hubbard with Day 2 picks… However, the rest of Cincinnati’s class has barely contributed anything."

Bengals’ 2018 NFL draft class was a bust except for a few quality gems

Fifth-round picks like Davontae Harris and Andrew Brown never cracked the starting roster, and Harris is currently a free agent while Brown is buried on the depth chart for the Los Angeles Chargers.

The most promising player out of the bunch (aside from the team’s top three picks) is arguably Auden Tate, who served as a decent backup wideout last year but joined the Atlanta Falcons this offseason.

Overall, Cincinnati did improve its defense with Hill, Bates, and Hubbard, but missing on Billy Price meant the Bengals’ efforts to build an elite offensive line would be delayed. Hubbard, a strong run defender, will be looking to improve his game in Year 5 after recording 7.5 sacks in 2021; Bates is currently embroiled in controversy over his contract and will play on the franchise tag in 2022.

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If Bates ends up leaving Cincinnati after this season or gets traded, the Bengals’ 2018 draft class should rightly be considered a massive underwhelming bust.