Tag Archives: Draft

Bengals 2014 Draft Grades

6 Jun

I was going through my Bengals draft grades since 2010 and realized I never fully wrote my feelings on the Bengals 2014 draft class with grades.
1.24 – Darqueze Dennard – CB – Michigan State
This is who I thought they’d pick with only a couple weeks leading up to the NFL Draft. Cincinnati wanted a CB and Dennard was their third ranked CB on their board and ended up being the third CB drafted out of five in the first round.

Why I like this pick: Dennard is game-ready. He should be able to, at the very least, start in Nickel packages as a rookie. I think he can push for a starting job also. Dennard is a Physical, man-cover CB that is very experienced and was highly productive at MSU.

Why I didn’t like this pick: Dennard graded out as my 4th ranked CB and I liked Jason Verrett and Phillip Gaines more; both were available at 24. Dennard is an average athlete that relies on Physical coverage to stay with receivers. This could make or break him in the NFL if he doesn’t walk the fine line between fair and foul.

Value: B
Fit: A
Draft Grade: B+

2.55 – Jeremy Hill – RB – LSU
The Bengals draft the second RB of the 2014 Draft to pair with the first back drafted in 2013 in Gio Bernard. The running game is obviously going to be used much more in the coming years.

Why I like this pick: Jeremy Hill was a very productive and physical runner in the SEC. He’s relatively young and hasn’t taken the usual punishment coming out of college. Hill provides an immediate upgrade to Benjarvus Green-Ellis and adds a power/speed combo that isn’t easily found.

Why I didn’t like this pick: Where’s the value? The Bengals have potentially a top-5 NFL running back in Bernard and a player that should be a focal point of their offense and they decide to spend their second-round pick on a running back with character issues? How many carries can Hill get unless Bernard gets injured? I wanted to upgrade from Green-Ellis also, but almost any RB drafted could’ve provided that. There was talent to be had at RB all the way through round-six in UCF runner Storm Johnson. Hill needs work in pass protection and patience/vision. He works better with a FB in front of him. This is all the opposite of Gio Bernard. The interchanging of the two should be interesting.

Value: F
Fit: C+
Draft Grade: C-

3.88 – Will Clarke – DE – West Virginia
The Bengals take their Defensive End prototype to help replace the DE Mold they lost in free agency in Michael Johnson. Clarke seemed like a Bengals target from mid February.

Why I like this pick: Clarke played the majority of his college career as a 5-tech defensive end in a 3-3-5 scheme. I think that’s why his numbers weren’t very impressive and why he could still have some untapped potential. He’s long and athletic; just how the Bengals like them. He was also awarded as the hardest working player on the WVU team.

Why I didn’t like this pick: This year’s 4-3 Defensive End class was WEAK. Probably the poorest group I’ve seen in five-years. In others drafts, Clarke would’ve been a Day-3 pick. On the field, Clarke is stiff, late and doesn’t posses enough strength for a quality power move or run defense. This, coming from a guy that was a gym room standout at WVU. He needs work, but the Bengals need a pass rusher now. This was a need pick.

Value: D+
Fit: B+
Draft Grade: D+

4th Round – Russell Bodine – C/G – North Carolina
The Bengals traded up to draft a Center they felt could come in and compete for playing time as a rookie. Marvin Lewis said Bodine was a guy he wanted throughout the draft.

Why I liked this pick: The confidence the coaching staff has expressed in the Bodine pick gets the fan base excited. The Bengals needed interior OL help and Bodine potential provides that. His nasty streak can be seen on film.

Why I didn’t like this pick: We had Bodine graded as a Day-3/UDFA prospect. Yes, he tested very well at the Combine in most areas, but he RARELY shows that ability on the field. Bodine is very poor in space and in the second level, he over-extends in pass protection and gets beat often and often looked overmatched in college. His strengths and weaknesses are very similar to the Bengals last starting center – Kyle Cook. He’s not ready to play in 2014 and would have to evolve drastically for this pick to work out in the long run. Oh and they traded up to get him.

Value: D
Fit: B
Draft Grade: D

5th Round – AJ McCarron – QB – Alabama
The Bengals finally draft a QB, but it’s one that won’t threaten Andy Dalton at all. Maybe that was the idea?

Why I liked this pick: McCarron is highly experienced coming out of college and should develop into a very solid NFL backup. He’s very similar to Dalton, so you can keep a similar offense for both QBs if you need to actually use the backup in a game.

Why I didn’t like this pick: McCarron is another weak-armed, “winning” QB that makes fans feel warm and fuzzy, but the truth is he’s a limited player that still needs work despite his massive experience. He’s not ready to play and won’t push Andy Dalton in any way. This was a wasted pick if they were looking for a potential upgrade at QB. I would’ve like to see Keith Wenning as the pick here.

Value: C
Fit: C+
Draft Grade: C-

6th Round – Marquise Flowers – OLB – Arizona State
This was a pick that I pegged thanks to some great tips. Flowers is the type of LB they’ve been adding over the last few years.

Why I liked this pick: Flowers is highly athletic and plays naturally in coverage. He reminds me of the type of prospect they saw in Emmanuel Lamur as a rookie. I expect Flowers to enjoy a spot on the bottom of the roster for a year until he can get stronger and develop in the physical game.

Why I didn’t like this pick: When Telvin Smith (FSU – Jags) gets drafted in the fifth round and Flowers goes in the sixth, it leaves a sour taste in your mouth, but as a late-round prospect, Flowers has good upside.

Value: B
Fit: B
Draft Grade: B+

7th Round – James Wright – WR – LSU
The Bengals double dip from the LSU offense with a player that didn’t have much offensive production in college.

Why I liked this pick: Wright is a big body that can run and he’s a special teams standout. He should be fighting for one of the final roster spots and if he can win a gunner job in camp, Wright will make this team as the final WR and be active on game days.

Why I didn’t like this pick: Core special teams players can be found anywhere, but spending a 7th on one isn’t the worst thing you can do. I do wish Wright had more production on offense. LSU runs a very pro-style system and his experience or lack thereof may have an affect.

Value: C+
Fit: B
Draft Grade: C+

7th Round – Lavelle Westbrooks – CB – Georgia Southern

Why I liked this pick: Westbrooks caught my eye a couple times at the Senior Bowl and I wrote his name down to watch again after.

Why I didn’t like this pick: Because I never went back and watched him after the Senior Bowl.

Value: B-
Fit: C+
Draft Grade: C+

OVERALL GRADE: C
I felt like the Bengals knew exactly who they were targeting throughout this draft and made sure they selected each one of them. When I can pick out a few of these guys and the Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham calls out Hill, Clarke and Bodine before day-2, it tells me that they were drafting for needs and fits rather than using the BPA model that has flooded them with praise since 2009. When you draft for need, you better be right, because you’re usually passing on better players. We’ll see how this worked out in a few years.

2010 Bengals Draft Grade
2011 Bengals Draft Grade
2012 Bengals Draft Grade
2013 Bengals Draft Grade

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Buddy Nix and the Bills will never draft ‘their’ Quarterback under their current plan

7 Dec

We know the Buffalo Bills current and future Quarterback situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t going to win enough games to lead this team to the playoffs and there’s no future plan in place. Head coach Chan Gailey will back Fitzpatrick until he’s fired and GM Buddy Nix flip-flops every other week on how they plan on addressing the future of the position.

Today, Buddy Nix backtracked on a previous statement that he wants to draft a QB next year. On the subject of drafting a QB in first round next year, Nix said:

“That’s not necessarily true. I mean, we’re going to always stay with the integrity of the [draft] board. But we’re going to try to find a quarterback. If one’s there, and he’s rated at the right spot, we’re going to take him whenever that is.”

I don’t have a problem with that on a normal team, but the Bills have continuously passed on QB prospects because they’ve stayed true to their board. You’ll never get ‘your’ QB by drafting Best Player Available (BPA). Eventually, the Buffalo Bills and Buddy Nix will need to look at draft value and the Quarterback position is obviously the most valuable in any sport. We will continue to see Quarterbacks like Sam Bradford, Alex Smith, David Carr, Cam Newton and others get drafted first overall even though they’re not the best players in the draft. They’re just the most valuable.

When Buffalo picked in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, 34th overall, they had a decision to make — Take the best player on their board in Aaron Williams, or draft one of the QBs that were (obviously) rated lower in Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick or Ryan Mallett. Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey eluded to the obvious, they didn’t feel any of them were “franchise” guys and not worth the 34th overall pick because they had other players rated higher. Or in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft. They drafted T.J. Graham with the 69th pick and six picks later, Russell Wilson was drafted. When they selected Marcel Dareus 3rd overall, and ahead of Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder, they committed the same crime again. I’m not saying they made the wrong choice here, but I love the unwritten draft rule — If you don’t have a franchise QB, you keep drafting them until you do. — The Buffalo Bills have drafted three Quarterbacks in the last 15 years. Under Gailey & Nix, they drafted one. Sixth round pick (209 overall), Levi Brown out of Troy.

Your counterpoint could be — They didn’t see those Quarterbacks as Franchise guys, so don’t waste the pick. — I would agree. Don’t take just any guy, BUT they’ve missed on some potential franchise Quarterbacks. We have the luxury of hindsight to see where this franchise has missed. They don’t and draft mistakes are common in the NFL, for losing franchises. But, you cannot afford to miss on one position; Quarterback. It is the modern day NFL’s most consequential mistake; incorrectly evaluating the QB position, and Buffalo is guilty. If Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey continue to ‘go strictly by their draft boards’, they’ll never get the player that can revive this franchise from the depths of insignificance.

Re-setting Free Agent Targets (Defense)

22 Mar

With the #Bengals likely turning to Defense in FA now, I found a few interesting players I’d like to see them bring in for visits.

DTs – Derek Landry (Phi), Amobi Okoye (Chi), Leger Douzable (Jax) and Trevor Laws (Phi) — Smaller, quicker DTs that should help replace J.Fanene.

DEs -Wallace Gilberry (K.C.), William Hayes (Tenn), Victor Abiamiri (Phi) — Role players with success in limited time. VA has injury issues.

OLBs – Antwan Applewhite (Car), Erik Walden (G.B), Quentin Groves (Oak) — All are DE/LB tweener types that could replace Lawson

Bengals Free Agency Preview

13 Mar

I’ve been asked Who will the Bengals sign? Or Who are you hoping they target? on Twitter. Those questions are hard to answer in 140 characters. So I put together this quick Free Agency preview.

If the Bengals have $51.5M in cap space as reported, let’s figure they have a $7-8M rookie pool, $3-4M injury fund and they’ve spent about $4M on exclusive free agents. That leaves $36.5M to spend on about 30 players. Let’s divide that up…

Of their own free agents, here’s what I expect:
GONE: Cedric Benson, Andre Caldwell, Jerome Simpson and Bo Scaife
CHANCE OF RETURNING:
Reggie Nelson, Anthony Collins, Bobbie Williams, Pat Sims, Adam Jones OR Kelly Jennings
EXPECTED TO RETURN (Price):
Nate Livings (1yr – $2M), Mike McGlynn (1yr – $1M), Dennis Roland (1yr – $1M), Donald Lee (1yr – $1.5M), Frostee Rucker (3yr – $10.5M), Jonathan Fanene (3yr -$9M), Manny Lawson (3yr – $9M), Brandon Johnson (2yr – $3M) TOTAL = $16.5 in 2012

That leaves $20M total to spend on 22 players. 8 Draft picks and 8 UDFAs. That leaves 6 free agent signings from other teams, unless Robert Geathers, Chris Crocker and Keith Rivers are released.

Here are the FA targets I could see the Bengals pursuing.

RUNNING BACK
1) Michael Bush – 4yr $18M
2) Mike Tolbert – 3yr $10M
3) Benjarvus Green-Ellis – 3yr $9M
4) Brandon Jacobs – 2yr $5M
5) Peyton Hillis – 2yr $6M
OTHERS TO CONSIDER AT RB
Kevin Smith, Ryan Grant, Justin Forsett, Joseph Addai, Tashard Choice

Wide Receiver
1) Pierre Garcon – 5yr $32M
2) Mario Manningham – 4yr $22M
3) Robert Meachem – 3yr $14M
4) Laurent Robinson – 3yr $14M
5) Josh Morgan – 3yr $12M
6) Eddie Royal – 3yr $10M
7) Early Doucet – 3yr $10M

OFFENSIVE LINE
1) Ben Grubbs – 5yr $35M
2) Geoff Schwartz (RFA) – 4yr $16M
3) Vernon Carey – 3yr $12M
4) Jason Brown – 3yr $12M
5) Chilo Racial – 3yr $9M
*6) Anthony Collins – 3yr $9M*
7) Barry Richardson – 3yr $9M
8) Mackenzy Bernadeau – 2yr $6M
9) Samson Satele – 3yr $10M
*10) Bobbie Williams – 1yr $3.5M*
11) Chris Kemoeatu – 2yr $6M
12) Adam Snyder – 2yr $6M

CORNER BACKS
1) Tracy Porter – 5yr $30M
2) Richard Marshall – 4yr $18M
3) Terrell Thomas – 3yr $15M
4) Jason Allen – 3yr $12M
5) Aaron Ross – 3yr $9M
6) William Gay – 3yr $9M
7) Chris Carr – 3yr $9M
8) Eric Wright – 2yr $6M
*9) Adam Jones – 2yr $6M*
*10) Kelly Jennings – 2yr $5M*

SAFETY
1) Dwight Lowery – 4yr $20M
*2) Reggie Nelson – 4yr $20M*
3) LaRon Landry – 2yr $8M
4) Jim Leonhard – 3yr $10M
5) O.J. Atagwe – 2yr $8M
6) Haruki Nakamura – 3yr $6M
7) Reggie Smith – 3yr $6M
8) Atari Bibby – 2yr $4M

DL & LB
1) Jeremy Mincey – DE – 4yr $28M
2) Curtis Lofton – ILB – 4yr $24M
3) Dan Connor – ILB – 3yr $10M
*4) Pat Sims – DT – 3yr $10M*
5) Jonathan Goff – ILB – 2yr $6M
6) Barrett Ruud – ILB – 2 yr $6M

So with $20M to spend, pick 5-7 players to spend it on. Hopefully the player wants to come to the Bengals also. There’s always two sides.

4 Different Scenarios

1) Reggie Nelson ($5M), William Gay ($3M), Mackenzie Bernadeau ($3M), Josh Morgan ($4M), Michael Bush ($4.5M) Total = $19.5M

2) Jeremy Mincey ($7M), Peyton Hillis ($3M), Early Doucet ($3.33M), Bobbie Williams ($3.5M), Kelly Jennings ($2M), Haruki Nakamura ($2M) Total = $21.33M

3) Terrell Thomas ($5M), Laron Landry ($4M), Samson Satele ($3.33M), Eddie Royal ($3.33M), Benjarvus Green-Ellis ($3M), Jonathan Goff ($3M) Total = $21.66M

4) Ben Grubbs ($7M), Robert Meachem ($4.5M), Brandon Jacobs ($2.5M), Pacman ($3M), Nakamura ($2M) Total = $20M