Round 1: Andre Smith, OT, A-
Round 2: Rey Maualuga, LB, C+
Round 3: Michael Johnson, DE, A
Round 3: Chase Coffman, TE, D
Round 4: Jonathan Luigs, C, F
Round 5: Kevin Huber, P, A
Round 6: Morgan Trent, S, D+
Round 6: Bernard Scott, RB, B-
Round 7: Fui Vakapuna, FB, F
Round 7: Clinton McDonald, DT, D
Round 7: Freddie Brown, WR, F
And we've arrived at the beginning of all of the recent Cincinnati Bengals success. The year 2009 was the first playoff appearance in this solid string of success. Moving past the garbage here, Fui Vakapuna and Freddie Brown never played in Cincinnati, Jonathan Luigs saw limited time in his rookie year, Chase Coffman has totaled four career catches and Morgan Trent did see some time early but eventually faded out.
I will give some credit to Clinton McDonald for a couple reasons. He's got a Super Bowl championship with Seattle now, and that came in a season that saw him make 5.5 sacks. He is in Tampa Bay now and should see plenty of time in Lovie Smith's system.
From this draft, Cincinnati got significant value that they have seen leave town. Bernard Scott never put up big numbers, but there were always questions about how good he could be with his speed. He was solid as a special teams guy, but never received ample opportunity in the backfield. I'm of the belief that with more chances, Scott would have made a bigger impact.
Michael Johnson, meanwhile, made a huge splash in Cincinnati prior to his departure. He had a down 2013, but 2012 saw him record a whopping 11.5 sacks, a forced fumble and an interception. This was good enough to earn him the franchise tag, but the top-notch defensive end left for Tampa Bay. If he can bounce back from a 3.5-sack season, he will be a star in the NFC.
Kevin Huber has become one of the league's best punters, and hopefully he will remain that way after being cheap-shotted in Pittsburgh. I'd say he was a fantastic "diamond in the rough," but punters and kickers don't usually go until the later rounds anyway.
The other highlights of the draft not named Michael Johnson include Andre Smith and Rey Maualuga.
Maualuga has caught a lot of heat recently after being absolutely abysmal in coverage for the least two or three seasons. He was re-signed during the offseason least year, much to the chagrin of many fans. Despite dropping almost 50 tackles from his stat line and struggling with injuries, he's expected to start over Vincent Rey.
Andre Smith, against all odds, seems to be becoming the first-round stud he was supposed to be. After a couple seasons of weight-related questions and work-ethic issues, Smith has become one of the best offensive tackles in the game. It's a good thing he was re-signed, as a guy like Andy Dalton, who takes his time in the pocket, needs a gargantuan human being to keep defenders. out.
This was the draft that started all of the success, and could even get better if Maualuga improves.