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Draft review: Cincinnati Bengals

Eifert AP

The Bengals want to win a playoff game for the first time in 23 years.  Here’s a look at whether their draft class will help them reach that elusive goal.

What they needed: Tackle, running back, defensive end, safety, receiver.

Who they got:
Round 1: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame.
Round 2: Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina.
Round 2: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU.
Round 3: Shawn Williams, S, Georgia.
Round 4: Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M.
Round 5: Tanner Hawkinson, OT, Kansas.
Round 6: Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska.
Round 6: Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas.
Round 7: Reid Fragel, OT, Ohio State.
Round 7: T.J. Johnson, C, South Carolina.

Where they hit:  With a growing nucleus of talented players, the Bengals could afford to go “best available” in round one.  And they did, via a tight end who’ll help diversify the passing game.  With receiver A.J. Green attracting extra attention, Eifert (who’ll wear Chad Johnson’s No. 85) and tight end Jermaine Gresham will be able to find favorable matchups in the underneath zones and in the seams.  Bernard likewise expands the offensive options, giving the Bengals a much-needed complement to BenJarvus Green-Ellis.  By re-signing right tackle Andre Smith and systemically addressing areas of need, the Bengals could be ready to take the next step.  Or two.

Where they missed:  Burkhead feels like a reach in round six.  He’s the kind of guy they could have found among the ranks of the undrafted free agents.  Still, if that’s the worst thing that can be said about a 10-man draft class, it’s a pretty good draft class.

Impact rookies:  Eifert and Bernard could make major contributions right away.  Hunt could also earn extensive playing time in the defensive line rotation, wreaking havoc as offensive lines focus on guys like Michael Johnson and Geno Atkins.  And don’t overlook Cobi Hamilton, a possession receiver who could earn reps across from Green — especially if Mohamed Sanu has any setbacks as he recovers from a foot injury that derailed his rookie season.

Long-term prospects:  The Bengals, with two straight playoff berths in non-strike seasons for the first time in franchise history, aren’t getting complacent.  Marvin Lewis, one of the longest-tenured coaches in the league, seems intent on building a consistent contender.  With Eifert, Bernard, and Hunt leading the class of incoming rookies, the Bengals could be poised to keep making the postseason, indefinitely.

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35 Responses to “Draft review: Cincinnati Bengals”
  1. si1m says: Apr 28, 2013 8:48 PM

    The Bengals I’m afraid are still a QB away from seriously challenging for any sort of AFC supremacy no matter how well they did on the draft

  2. dagodevil says: Apr 28, 2013 8:51 PM

    I keep hearing how the Bengals made the playoffs the last two seasons and while thats true is it really indicative of how good that team really is? Gingers dont win trophies, just saying it’s never happened …

  3. spunhead73 says: Apr 28, 2013 8:55 PM

    Doesn’t matter who they draft,they are still the Bengals. Dalton isn’t an elite QB,they drafted the 3rd best RB,and their D is weak. Bengals suck!

  4. bballpat07 says: Apr 28, 2013 9:01 PM

    Hard not to like this draft class. I know many Bengals fans wanted Lacy instead of Gio but I think that once they realize what they have in Bernard they won’t be upset at all.

    I would grade this draft as a B+\A-.

    I will say this, its weird having the Bengals pick players that they don’t need to fill an immediate hole and instead are drafting players that they can develop and groom with their picks in the later rounds. Something most Bengals fans (the more recent ones anyway) are not used to.

  5. samoanjungle says: Apr 28, 2013 9:03 PM

    I’m not sure why DE or OT would be listed as a need. They are stocked there. Also, I doubt Hunt will see much, if any, Defensive snaps. I’m guessing he will be a Special Teams guy for now. How does he play over Johnson, Geathers, Dunlap and Wilberry? Unless they cut Geathers or there is an injury, Hunt is 3rd string.
    I also don’t see Hamilton overtaking Marvin Jones and Sanu said he is already at 100%
    They got a couple guys, maybe 3 if Williams is decent, that may play some right away.
    The nice thing is they didn’t reach for anyone. 3-4 solid drafts in a row and they have done a nice job lately of adding FAs.
    I have to think they take the AFC North this year. Baltimore wasn’t much better than them before losing key guys and the Steelers look like they are rebuilding. If they don’t, they should fire Marvin or make him GM.

  6. ravensdominate says: Apr 28, 2013 9:03 PM

    Yeah bungles… You’ll never win anything.

  7. ridnaway says: Apr 28, 2013 9:08 PM

    Their D is weak? Are you tee-totally insane?

  8. bmoreravens1012013 says: Apr 28, 2013 9:09 PM

    As a die hard ravens fan , the bungles are definitely on the “come up”. I still think they will fall short when it matters most but they definitely are building a good team. I’m just not sold on the” Red Rifle” until he wins some playoff games.

  9. nflsecurity862 says: Apr 28, 2013 9:09 PM

    With Dalton as the QB, I don’t see another playoff berth for awhile.

  10. nbooat says: Apr 28, 2013 9:25 PM

    People under-estimate Dalton. He is a lot better than he is given credit for being. He is a winner and one of the reasons the Bengals are on the rise. If you watch games critically he does everything well. He, however, does need better accuracy on the long ball, but arm strength is not the issue. He actually overthrows his receivers on each incompletion. People/media assumes he has a weak arm because he is not 6’5″. He can make all the throws and is very accurate in fitting the ball in narrow windows. He will take sacks more than fans like, but it is better than being careless with the ball.

  11. raiderapologist says: Apr 28, 2013 9:33 PM

    The Bengals have had the picks, and the cash, to get a legitimate QB. They have Andy Dalton. Good luck with that.

  12. beltlessbuckler says: Apr 28, 2013 9:36 PM

    Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson- two ginger Super Bowl champion qbs who relied on Defense to get that ring! Who-F’n-Dey!

  13. steelfan66 says: Apr 28, 2013 9:46 PM

    I actually think you guys had a great draft. I don’t know why these people are so far in denial.

    Bengals should compete for the AFC North crown again.

  14. voyager6 says: Apr 28, 2013 10:09 PM

    I think Marvin has accumulated quite a bit of talent. I just hope he can do something with it.

    Historically, Marvin is good for two losses a year due to poor game management and unwillingness to give up on a failed game plan after getting down 21 points.

    Marvin’s game time management has to improve to the level of his players.

  15. bvandy says: Apr 28, 2013 10:10 PM

    Is there even such a thing as a reach in the 6th round?

  16. t8ertot says: Apr 28, 2013 10:10 PM

    It’s laughable that people expect Dalton to be elite at this point of his career. He’s in his 3rd season. Was Flacco elite in his third season, or better yet, is he elite now? Just because he broke their bank, doesn’t make him elite.

  17. t8ertot says: Apr 28, 2013 10:28 PM

    Dalton is in his 3rd season. He’ll improve,
    especially since he has some more weapons

  18. nflcinbengals says: Apr 28, 2013 10:34 PM

    raiderapologist says: Apr 28, 2013 9:33 PM

    The Bengals have had the picks, and the cash, to get a legitimate QB. They have Andy Dalton. Good luck with that.

    And the Raiders have wasted all of their first round picks for a decade, no cash and a career backup QB as a starter, lol good luck with that. For the rest of you haters, only opinion that matters is the city of Cincinnati’s and we’re behind Dalton, like the Military is behind the President, get used to the kid because he will be special… and thanks steelfan66 for not being biased.

  19. crownofthehelmet says: Apr 28, 2013 10:37 PM

    Good draft. This team will be tough – once Lewis is fired and Dalton’s holding a clipboard.

  20. wtgriffin says: Apr 28, 2013 10:42 PM

    The big arm comments have some merit, but are a bit overblown on Dalton. It is more important to hit receivers consistently and move the chains, which fell apart when Sanu was hurt the latter part of the season, i.e. Gresham in the Houston game. Eifert is a good match for Dalton and addresses that issue. Bernard may not have had the national pub of Lacy, but he can make a lot of dump off plays go for big yards – a poor man’s Ray Rice at worst or his peer at best. The UGA kid can run and can hit. Not sure what the big Estonian will do this year, but I think it’s an admission that the Bengals (finally) have too much talent to get under the cap in 2014 – either Dunlap or Johnson will be gone. Keep getting good players, replacing those that leave – it’s what good teams do. Maybe the Bengals are finally getting there.

  21. nflcinbengals says: Apr 28, 2013 10:57 PM

    crownofthehelmet says: Apr 28, 2013 10:37 PM

    Good draft. This team will be tough – once Lewis is fired and Dalton’s holding a clipboard.

    We know it was a good draft, we don’t need your validation, worry about the Steelers future and not their past because Tomlin will be out before Lewis, watch.

  22. jdphx says: Apr 28, 2013 11:07 PM

    “”People under-estimate Dalton””

    There’s a reason for that you know… And not a
    weak arm, but a noodle arm. There’s a difference!

    I like M. Hunt though. And he WILL play!

  23. stoptrippn says: Apr 28, 2013 11:16 PM

    TMays finally gets a legitimate chance….he takes them 2round of playoffs

  24. mazblast says: Apr 28, 2013 11:23 PM

    “with two straight playoff berths in non-strike seasons for the first time in franchise history”

    A true but pathetic stat for one of the least accomplished franchises in the league. The Bagels and their fans sure talk the talk but are a full generation into not walking even the smallest of walks.

    As for their draft, no one really knows how a draft will turn out, but one thing we can be sure of is that these new guys will be–just Bengals.

  25. garyhd01 says: Apr 28, 2013 11:43 PM

    the first thing im gonna say is I am a ram fan…. why I say that is because so many say so much w/o identifying their allegiance cause if you are a Bengal fan and a Dalton hater that’s different than being a browns steeler or ravens fan just being a hater in general don’t know if Dalton will get these guys there but in retrospect if you win your fair share it means one super bowl victory every 32 years so while you are due you are not that overdue I believe like Bradford time is on your side Bradford is starting his 4th season this year yet he is only 25 and daltons ginger hair doesn’t show when his helmets on lol

  26. scoutlukeprados says: Apr 29, 2013 12:14 AM

    this is my favorite class. I’m so sick of hearing burkhead will be moved to fullback. the chargers made that mistake with jacob hestor…the league is colorblind.

    burkhead is a better “pure runner” than bernard.

    dalton will have great weapons now.

    do not sleep on kobi hamilton, he is a beast

  27. stillers35 says: Apr 29, 2013 5:22 AM

    With the Bengals adding Eifert the Ravens revamping their D with some great picks and the Steelers adding much needed pieces this division is easily the best in football. September can’t get here fast enough

  28. joetoronto says: Apr 29, 2013 6:25 AM

    Andy Dalton doesn’t just have a weak arm, he’s weak upstairs too.

    The Bungholes and their fans will remain in denial though and nothing will change.

  29. buckeyeluvn says: Apr 29, 2013 8:19 AM

    As a Browns fan, I’m more worried about the Bengals than the Ravens or Pittsburg.

  30. crownofthehelmet says: Apr 29, 2013 9:35 AM

    buckeyeluvn says:

    As a Browns fan, I’m more worried about the Bengals than the Ravens or Pittsburg.

    Your lack of knowledge surprises no one. Here’s some advice, cut out those first 4 words and people might actually listen to you.

  31. deepsleeperpodcast says: Apr 29, 2013 10:14 AM

    wow. I never realized the overwhelming hate for Andy Dalton. The dude is going into his third year. The team around him is getting better every year. He has every bit of talent, with help around him, to win a Super Bowl.

  32. paxtonboyd says: Apr 29, 2013 1:43 PM

    The Dalton hate has got to stop. The dude had an outstanding rookie season and would’ve been named ROY if it weren’t for Cam Newton’s monster year. And look at what he did last year — his No. 2 RB (Bernard Scott) tore his ACL just a few games into the season and his No. 2 & 3 receivers behind AJ Green (Mohamed Sanu & Marvin Jones) were virtually NEVER on the field at the same time. Dalton STILL threw 27 TDs and got his team to the playoffs. Now that this team has added depth and given him more weapons — watch out.

  33. dashrendar1 says: Apr 29, 2013 2:00 PM

    If random fans hate Dalton it just makes me like him more.

  34. earlywormgetseaten says: Apr 29, 2013 9:11 PM

    The defense is strong enough to carry the team even in lieu of offensive struggles. The jury’s still out on Dalton, but having Sanu back and adding Eiffert will surely improve red zone efficiency. Hard not to like their chances.

  35. bonniebengal says: Apr 30, 2013 5:19 AM

    I’m really interested to see what Mike Zimmer can do with the Estonian former Olympic hopeful Margus Hunt. He blocked something like 17 kicks in college and he’s only been playing since 2009 I think.

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