Monday, April 30, 2012
2012 Cincinnati Bengals draft analysis
By Jamison Hensley
Let's break down the Cincinnati Bengals' 2012 draft:
FIRST-ROUND SPOTLIGHT: CB Dre Kirkpatrick and G Kevin Zeitler. The Bengals presumably would've preferred for South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore to fall, but they still address an aging position with Kirkpatrick. You can thank the Oakland Raiders (this was a Carson Palmer pick) for Kirkpatrick, the best zone cover corner in this draft who should compete with Nate Clements for a starting spot. Zeitler is a blue-collar power blocker who is tough, smart and competitive. He's only the second offensive lineman to be taken in the first round by the Bengals in the past 10 drafts (offensive tackle Andre Smith was the other).
IN HINDSIGHT: The Bengals could've had Stanford's David DeCastro, the best guard in the draft, if they stayed at the No. 21 spot. Instead, they lost out on him by trading six spots back. The Bengals ended up with Zeitler and an additional third-round pick (Cincinnati used it on Clemson defensive tackle Brandon Thompson).
BEST VALUE: TE Orson Charles, Georgia. He was once considered one of the top tight ends in this draft and was projected to go in the first or second round. A recent DUI and a poor 40-yard time at his pro day (he was clocked in the high 4.7s) caused him to slide to the fourth round. The Bengals will play a lot more two tight end sets with Charles and Jermaine Gresham. Charles has a very high ceiling.
TOP LATE-ROUND PICKUP: WR Marvin Jones, California. It's fitting that the Bengals use the pick received from the Patriots in the Chad Ochocinco deal on a wide receiver. Jones has size (6 feet 2), quickness and a knack for getting open. Don't be surprised if he beats out third-round pick Mohamed Sanu for more playing time this year.
SOMEONE WHO DIDN'T LIKE THIS DRAFT: Jacob Bell. The veteran guard started 100 games for the Titans and Rams before signing with the Bengals as a free agent this offseason. Bell is now penciled in as a backup after the Bengals selected Zeitler in the first round. Zeitler is expected to take over at right guard and Travelle Wharton will start at left guard.