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Monday, April 29, 2013
2013 Cincinnati Bengals draft analysis

By Jamison Hensley

Let's break down the Cincinnati Bengals' 2013 draft:

FIRST-ROUND SPOTLIGHT: Not saying this has been bad, but the Bengals have been predictable in past drafts. Drafting tight end Jermaine Gresham (2010) and wide receiver A.J. Green (2011) in the first rounds were not surprises. Even last year, many thought the Bengals would take cornerback and a guard. But no one had the Bengals selecting Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert falling to No. 21. The Bengals didn't need a tight end. Eifert, though, will stretch the field more than Gresham and adds another target in the red zone. If Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones hadn't slipped to the Pittsburgh Steelers, they may have taken Eifert at No. 17.

IN HINDSIGHT: The Bengals' biggest need was strong safety and they didn't add one until the third round, when the selected Georgia's Shawn Williams. Cincinnati could have taken a higher-rated safety in the second round. With their second pick of the second round, the Bengals opted to draft Southern Methodist defensive end Margus Hunt over South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger. Hunt was drafted at No. 53, and Swearinger went to the Houston Texans four spots later. It will interesting to track the careers for Swearinger and Williams.

BEST VALUE: That being said, the best value was Hunt in terms of the Bengals' draft board. According to the team's website, Hunt was among the top 21 players on the Bengals' draft board and fell to No. 53. The 6-foot-8, 277 pound lineman was among the strongest and fastest defensive linemen at the NFL combine. In terms of value, some have compared this situation to 2010 when the Bengals got defensive end Carlos Dunlap at the 54th overall pick.

TOP LATE-ROUND PICKUP: Offensive tackle Reid Fragel, Ohio State. Projected to go as high as the third round, Fragel lasted until the seventh. He's developmental prospect who played three seasons at tight end in college before switching to offensive tackle last season. Fragel put on nearly 30 pounds since the end of his junior season, so he's still growing into the position. Strong and smart, Fragel could turn into a late-round success story.

SOMEONE WHO DIDN'T LIKE THIS DRAFT: Bernard Scott. He has to wonder whether he should have re-signed with Cincinnati 17 days ago. The Bengals took the first running back in the draft, selecting North Carolina's Giovani Bernard with the 37th overall pick. Bernard is a fast back who will complement BenJarvus Green-Ellis and will be critical on third downs because of his pass-catching ability. Cedric Peerman, one of the team's top special teams player, is expected to be the No. 3 back. There's a chance that the Bengals could put Scott, who tore his ACL last October, on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list to keep him around in case the Bengals need a back midway through the season.