Cincinnati Bengals NFL Draft Review


1. First Round, 4th overall: AJ Green, WR, Georgia

To me, the fact that the Bengals’ second choice supplemented this pick makes it an even better pick than it already was. Four picks into the draft, the Bengals got the best overall offensive player in the draft, and a fantastic #1 wide receiver option. Green isn’t as good a prospect as Calvin Johnson was, but he has the size, speed, and playmaking ability to be a Pro Bowl player early on in his career. It will take time–as it does for all new NFL receivers–to acclimate to the speed of the game and the ability of the players on the other side of the field, but Green is a gifted athlete who can take over a game. His potential in the NFL is unlimited if he can stay healthy.

The Bengals have drafted quite a few receivers over the last couple of years, but this one is different. Does this spell the end of Chad Johnson in Cincy? A tandem including Green, Jordan Shipley, and Jermaine Gresham will keep this offensive attack explosive, and will provide plenty of fire power for the team’s new signal caller…

Pick Grade: A+

2. Second Round, 35th overall: Andy Dalton, QB, TCU

The Bengals get their future franchise QB with this pick, a guy that a lot of teams wanted that passed on him, and a guy they didn’t even have to move into the first round to get. This was a risky move by the Bengals, but it really worked out for them. Dalton is a guy who prides himself on accuracy, and is simply a winner. He has great college experience against all kinds of competition, and a lot of scouts were high on this guy.

Pick Grade: A

3. Third Round, 66th overall: Dontay Moch, LB, Nevada

This was definitely a project pick, and a little early, in my opinion. Moch is a poor man’s Von Miller. He’s a great athlete who is going to give high effort and has excellent pass rush potential. The Bengals could use him as a defensive end or SAM linebacker, but he’s still very raw. He has the type of athletic ability and speed that scouts absolutely drool over, so he was an okay pick to me, but still the Bengals could have gotten a better player here, in all likelihood.

High upside pick in the third round, but a big risk with as high a pick this is.

Pick  Grade: C

4. Fourth round, 101st overall: Clint Boling, G, Georgia

This was excellent value in the fourth round. Boling is one of the top interior line prospects in the whole draft, and he could probably start for the Bengals sooner rather than later. He played with A.J. Green at Georgia and will now play with him again in the NFL. He could play either guard spot and I personally believe this was one of the better picks the Bengals made in their overall very solid draft.

Pick Grade: A

5. Fifth Round, 134th overall: Robert Sands, S, West Virginia

Head-hunter at strong safety who is very tight in the hips but man, when he puts a lick on somebody, he really puts a lick on somebody. This is a guy who is a taller safety who will make his living in the NFL on special teams and occasionally picking up tight ends in coverage. He also has the frame to add weight and move to linebacker if the Bengals see that potential in him, and that might be his best position in the NFL. He is an in-the-box safety and a decent pick in the fifth round.

Pick Grade: B

6. Sixth Round, 167th overall: Ryan Whalen, WR, Stanford

This is a guy I really, really like at this juncture of the draft because he reminds me so much of Brandon Stokley, the Seattle Seahawks receiver. This is a guy who is smart, tough, and a hard worker. He’s not going to blow anybody away athletically, but he understands route concepts and can make contributions on special teams. He will take some time to develop as a receiver, but down the road, he could prove to be a nice addition for the Bengals.

Pick Grade: C+

7. Seventh Round, 207th overall: Korey Lindsey, CB, Southern Illinois

This is not a flashy pick, but a high upside pick and a guy who can contribute right away as a gunner on special teams. Very productive player at Southern Illinois who was an All American this past year, and a guy who could boom or bust in the NFL. Size isn’t imposing, but this was a decent pick at this stage of the draft.

Pick Grade: B

8. Seventh Round, 246th overall: Jay Finley, RB, Baylor

Not really well known because of his injury history at Baylor, but is definitely a good athlete and a high upside pick at this juncture of the draft. I like Finley as a reserve and he is a potential gem. He should get a good look in the pre-season, especially in the later games. He could be a contributor right away, or he could be headed to the practice squad. His health will decide that.

Pick Grade: C

Overall Draft Grade:  B+

The Bengals hit home runs with three of their first four picks. I love the Green, Dalton, and Boling picks, and I’m not sure many more teams did much better than that. That being said, the Bengals failed to address the safety position even with the top guys available in round three, and I think they also could have upgraded on the defensive line. A solid draft for Cincinnati.