NFL Draft 2012 Grades: Cincinnati Bengals and This Draft's Biggest Winners
Generally, it takes a few years to determine the true grade an organization deserves for its draft class.
But that doesn't mean we can't have some fun and project how good we feel these players will be.
Thus, still immersed in the NFL draft afterglow, I'll grade a few of my favorite draft classes from this past year. Some teams added a bevy of young talent in the rebuilding effort. Others added key pieces to positions of need for an immediate upgrade next season.
Either way, the following teams did well in my book.
I believe Dre Kirkpatrick is going to be an excellent corner in this league, and he and Leon Hall will give the Bengals an excellent pair of starting corners. Guard Kevin Zeitler will be an instant starter at a position of need.
Oh, but it keeps getting better.
The team got fantastic value in the second and third round, adding defensive tackles Devon Still and Brandon Thompson.
But the steal of the draft was adding wide receiver Mohamed Sanu in the third round. Sanu looks like he could be an excellent possession receiver in the NFL and, when paired with the field-stretching A.J. Green, gives the Bengals two starting receivers who perfectly complement one another.
They weren't done. Fourth-rounder Orson Charles should win the second tight end spot. Fifth-round picks Marvin Jones (quick receiver who could be the team's third option at the position) and George Iloka (safety) were excellent values and will be given opportunities to see the field next season.
Fletcher Cox will be an immediate contributor at defensive tackle and should be a force penetrating the line in the Eagle's Wide 9 scheme.
But the good picks kept coming. Second-round selection Mychal Kendricks should start immediately at the SAM position for the Eagles, and the Birds got one of the best second-round value picks when Vinny Curry fell to them at 59. He'll be added to the defensive-end rotation and be a third-down factor next season.
With Brandon Boykin a potential contributor in the return game and in the slot as a nickel corner, and potential sleeper finds in WR Marvin McNutt and offensive lineman Brandon Washington, the Eagles look like a team.
Nick Foles in the third round is a question mark, but he'll have plenty of time to learn how to play the position. If he has as much potential as Andy Reid clearly thinks he does, this could turn into one of Reid's finest drafts in 14 years.
But the Bucs draft was a little top-heavy in my opinion, and I'm not sure this draft class will be remembered outside of the top-three players they landed.
Still, few other teams added the instant contributers that the Bucs will get with Barron, Martin and David. That alone was worth an excellent grade in my opinion.
Which team had the best draft?
They got the best value in the first round when future All-Pro guard David DeCastro fell to them at 24, and the value picks kept coming when tackle Mike Adams dropped down to 56. Character issues aside—I'm going to go ahead and assume the Steelers did their homework on Adams—he's a guy that can play, and represents great value with that pick.
I'm not so sure Sean Spence is a good fit at linebacker, but Alameda Ta'amu could develop into an excellent replacement for nose tackle Casey Hampton. Chris Rainey is an intriguing prospect at running back, and could be a dynamic scat back and returner for the team.
Again, this draft was a bit top heavy, but the Steelers did well to solidify themselves at positions of need.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets make moves like Bill Belichick.
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