Cincinnati Bengals 2014 Draft: Aggregating Grades from Around the Web
However, there are some who don't think so highly of its selections. Some view the picks as reaches, and while they theoretically fill needs, there were better players available for the spots.
Of course, as with all sports, there are differences in opinion. What are the experts discussing as it comes to the Bengals' draft?
Pete Prisco: C+
Senior NFL columnist Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, in his piece on grades around the league, was one of the more harsh judges of the Bengals' selections. The highlight of the excerpt about them read, "Don't think for a minute A.J. McCarron, their fifth-round pick, will take Andy Dalton's job. It's a backup thing."
He was also critical of the selection of Jeremy Hill.
I can admit that in the short term, McCarron is not a Bengal to take Andy Dalton's starting position. To think he is ready to lead an NFL offense is naive—winning in college football is much different than winning in the professional game.
As for Hill, Prisco didn't seem to enjoy his being selected at all by the Bengals, or at the very least, being picked in the second round. It's true that Carlos Hyde was the more popular running back at the time who was available, but a big power back to replace BenJarvus Green-Ellis (be it this year or next) was needed.
In an overall sense, Prisco seems underwhelmed by the selections, which is why he gave what I perceive to be an "average" grade.
Chris Burke: A-
Unlike Prisco, Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated seemed a bit more impressed with the Bengals' draft. He and Doug Farrar graded all 32 NFL teams and made compelling arguments regarding the athletes who wound up in Cincinnati.
Burke called first-round pick Darqueze Dennard "an absolute steal" at No. 24. This is no surprise and certainly not an overstatement. Many experts projected Kyle Fuller or Jason Verrett to end up being picked in this spot, but Dennard, who starred on the best NCAA defense last season, fell into the laps of the Bengals.
Burke also suggested that the "ultimate judgment of this class, no matter how unfair, may rest with the future of QB AJ McCarron." This is an overstatement should McCarron fail, but he is absolutely correct if he winds up being a star in the NFL—it's a sad irony of the league.
What separated Burke from Prisco seemed to be that Burke saw the bigger picture. He understood what the Bengals were looking for and didn't judge too harshly on the "best available" mentality the Bengals chose not to have.
Cincinnati filled the holes it had, and that's what Burke seems to have examined.
Alessandro Miglio: B
Bleacher Report's own Alessandro Miglio gave the Bengals a solid B in his edition of draft grades. When speaking of the Bengals' picks, Miglio heavily focused on the AJ McCarron selection.
He said possibly the best thing you can say about the pick at this point in time, calling McCarron a "nice pick as a backup." It's important to realize that that is all he is going to be in 2014.
Barring some awful string of injuries to both Andy Dalton and Jason Campbell or a 2-10 record, don't expect to see the team's newest quarterback on the field this regular season.
Mel Kiper Jr.: B
Finally, we arrive at the man whose name will forever be associated with the NFL draft, ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. He gave the Cincinnati Bengals a B in his draft grades (subscription required), dubbing that grade as "pretty good."
The trend rolls on here, as this was another expert who identified the fact that the Bengals filled positional needs, just not with the guys who may have been better. Kiper was impressed with the Dennard selection, as most people were, and called it one of the first round's best picks.
Kiper was much higher on Carlos Hyde than Jeremy Hill, but he agreed that the Bengals had to get a different power back not named BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
It's true that Green is on the back nine of his career most likely, and he may or may not stay on the roster with the addition of Hill.
If the draft expert himself can call the selections a success, then it's a good start moving forward.