What a mess the off-season has been for the Bengals. It’s unlikely they’ll bring back Terrell Owens, Carson Palmer is threatening to be traded or retire, and Chad Ochocinco is saying that Marvin Lewis disrespected him and he doesn’t want to be back either.
Luckily for them, most of these players aren’t as great as they once were, and losing them isn’t going to hurt as bad as it could have been. The Bengals had numerous holes to fill, including wide receiver, quarterback, defensive tackle, both safety positions, and depth at running back and offensive line.
Check out how NFL Soup grades out the Bengals 2011 NFL Draft:
Round 1, Pick 4: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
I’m not a huge fan of wide receivers in the Top 10, but A.J. Green is as legit as they come. He’s physical, he’s fast, and he doesn’t drop anything. If you’re trying to establish a new identity on offense, you have to start with getting play makers, and that’s exactly what Green is. The Bengals resisted temptation of Blaine Gabbert and took the safer Green, which was the smart move.
Round 2, Pick 35: Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
This is where I’m not satisfied with the Bengals draft. Andy Dalton’s talent level is graded out as a great value in the fourth or fifth round. While Jay Gruden has a huge man-crush, I can see why the Bengals reached for a quarterback, but Dalton is a reach as a second rounder. I like the player, just not the round.
Round 3, Pick 66: Dontay Moch, OLB, Nevada
I fully expected Oakland to jump over this pick. I’m not a huge Moch fan if he’s going to play outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense. However, if the Bengals play him at defensive end, it could be an excellent selection as Moch gets into the backfield in a hurry. Moch is a pass rusher, however, and that’s about it. He is a liability against the run, and isn’t very strong. He relies heavily on his athleticism to make plays, and he may not get away with that in the NFL.
Round 4, Pick 101: Clint Boling, OG/OT, Georgia
The Bengals recent failure with Andre Smith makes the need for depth on the offensive line, and a potential starter at right tackle a huge need. Boling is versatile and will start at no worse than right guard if he can’t handle the tackle spot. I think Boling was a great pick, and he should be able to come in almost immediately and be a nice bookend with Andrew Whitworth.
Round 5, Pick 134: Robert Sands, FS, West Virginia
Sands is another athletic player who gets by purely on his athleticism. I don’t care for his football IQ and I think he has a lot to learn, but the upside is there. For a fifth round draft pick, the pick was well worth it, and with the holes in the secondary, Sands could come in as a situational player very soon.
Round 6, Pick 167: Ryan Whalen, WR, Stanford
With Andre Caldwell, Jerome Simpson and Jordan Shipley starting to come on, this pick is a bit confusing. I’m not so sure that weak wide receiver depth was a big enough need to reach for Whalen who has solid, but not great hands and isn’t very quick or fast.
Round 7, Pick 207: Korey Lindsey, CB, Southern Illinois
I was extremely upset that Korey Lindsey failed to get a combine invite, and I think he has a lot of upside that many teams chose to pass on numerous times. The Bengals could lose Jonathan Joseph to free agency after this season, and injuries derailed the corners in 2010. Lindsey could step in dime and some nickel situations if his upside is tapped into.
Round 7, Pick 246: Jay Finley, RB, Baylor
Finley came out of nowhere to rush for 6.2 yards per carry and had a 1,200 yard season for the Bears. But he’s more of a change of pace back, and the Bengals seem to be comfortable in Bernard Scott for tat role. I don’t really see where Finley fits in, but perhaps they saw Finley as a best player available selection.
Overall Grade: B-
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