Grading the Bengals Draft

By: Jeff Archer
By: Jeff Archer

It's been a popular thing to do for some time now. Assign an objective grade to a subjective draft. Let's see what people had to say about what the Bengals did.

The NFL draft is complete, so now it is time to grade how the teams did... as if that were even possible. Grading players who have never suited up in the NFL is always subjective.  But is here what the experts had to say:

John Czarnecki - Fox Sports
Grade: A
This has a chance to be one of the best drafts in Bengals history, especially if Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith and USC middle linebacker Rey Maualuga develop into All-Pro performers. Both have the ability to be great NFL players. Maualuga slid into the second round because of off-the-field issues, plus the fact that he didn't call the defense at USC despite being a middle linebacker. But Maualuga is an upbeat, physical player who can lead in the locker room. Smith's bad body got him in trouble with some teams, but he weighed in at 333 pounds this week, plus Alabama head coach Nick Saban totally supported his status as a high pick.

Missouri TE Chase Coffman, 6-5, broke his foot in the Alamo Bowl game vs. Northwestern, but he has a pro pedigree, being the son of former Packers tight end Paul Coffman. Georgia Tech pass rusher Michael Johnson has great physical skills although many scouts thought he took many plays off on Saturdays. A local kid, Cincinnati punter Kevin Huber, won the Ray Guy Award as the nation's best punter last season.

Ron Rang - CBS Sports
Grade: A
While the Bengals might ultimately question their decision to ignore receiver and running back early, in terms of value and specific needs filled, no team is a bigger winner in this draft. To compete in the ultra-physical AFC North, the Bengals had to get tougher and certainly did so in this draft, adding the most physical offensive lineman in Andre Smith in the first round, the most physical inside linebacker in Rey Maualuga in the second and starting caliber talents at tight end (Chase Coffman), center (Jon Luigs) and punter (Kevin Huber) on the second day. Considering they waited until the third round to gamble on Michael Johnson -- who could end up being the best pass rusher from this draft -- the Bengals deserve lofty praise for this draft class. Only the character concerns of their top two picks lowers their grade from an A+ to an A.

Pete Prisco - CBS Sports
Grade: B+
For a team that has been ripped for poor drafting the past decade or so, they did a really nice job. This draft might just make them a playoff team.

  • Best pick: They didn't get scared off of Andre Smith because of his post-playing issues. This is a Pro Bowl tackle.
  • Questionable move: Taking Rey Maualuga in the second round. He's a thumper, but he lacks the coverage skills.
  • Second-day gem: Third-round pick Chase Coffman is a tight end who should be a factor as a rookie in the passing game.

Most everyone else seems to agree with the high rankings.  I on the other hand am not willing to give out a high grade at this point.  There is on doubt that they grabbed A LOT of talent in this draft.  They also grabbed A LOT of question marks in this draft.  No surprise there.  You would think after being burned so much by drafting risky players that they would steer clear, but they didn't.  They're first round pick has a ton of talent (seem people are already calling him an All-Pro) but has maturity issues.  Their second round pick was one of the best Middle Linebackers in the draft... with maturity issues.  Their third round pick is a freak of nature DE with great size and speed... but with maturity and work ethic issues.  They even found some very good talent later in the draft, but their 6th round pick has already been arrested 5 times.

To be fair, I am from Cincinnati, so watching the Bengals time and time again have off the field issues is embarrassing.  I'm hoping this group pans out.  But I think the person with the best insight on the Bengals draft is James Walker from

"This is the ultimate boom or bust draft for the Bengals. They probably drafted more pure, athletic talent than any team in the division, which could turn out to be all that matters. But players like Smith and Johnson will need to be constantly monitored, and there has to be some reason every team passed on USC linebacker Rey Maualuga as well. Perhaps many general managers felt he was overrated, which remains to be seen."

We'll just have to wait and see.  What would you rate the Bengals draft this year?  Does their drafting talent with questionable heads concern you?  Let me hear it.

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