Bengal Quick Takes: A top-10 ranking

May, 14, 2014
May 14
8:15
AM ET
As you may have seen on ESPN.com Tuesday, NFL Nation's post-draft Power Rankings posted, and a very familiar team anchored the No. 1 spot.

Seattle took away top honors after winning the Super Bowl. The team it blew out, the Denver Broncos, were ranked No. 2. But what about the Cincinnati Bengals? Where did they rank?

That's where we begin with Wednesday's Quick Takes:

1. Top-10 team? The six-person voting panel that also ranked teams last season in the weekly Power Rankings, helped compile this mid-offseason edition. After votes were averaged for each team, the group ended up ranking the Bengals No. 10 at this stage in the offseason. Most of the top 10 were teams that competed in last year's playoffs. A few exceptions slipped in, though, like the Cardinals at No. 8 and Eagles at No. 9. The Bengals' No. 10 ranking could be a little misleading, though. Unlike the other top-10 teams, they got a very diverse set of rankings from the six voters. Kevin Seifert ranked them as low as No. 19. Ashley Fox had them ranked No. 16. Dan Graziano gave them their highest ranking, sixth. John Clayton placed them in his No. 7 slot.

2. Why the wide range? Perhaps the extreme nature to the voting window the Bengals fell into are a sign of what many others think about the Bengals coming into this season: That either they can be another good postseason team in 2014, or that that they'll be a flop after losing a few big names in free agency and changing their offensive and defensive coordinators. Outside of Cincinnati, there does seem to be some real uncertainty about how the Bengals' next season might go. Actually, there is some of it in Cincinnati, too, as some fans look at Andy Dalton and wonder if the quarterback is the right person to lead the team on a deep playoff run. Then others look at Cincinnati's schedule, question the early bye and the two prime-time games against future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. They're bracing for another big-game failure from their starting quarterback against those superstars. But then there's the belief that as bad as 2014 could be, it might actually be better than any of the Bengals' last three seasons. There are some favorable parts to the Bengals' schedule. And despite its few losses in free agency, the defense arguably got better from a personnel standpoint. As Cincinnati starts emphasizing the run, the offense should improve, too, with Hue Jackson as offensive coordinator. So for all those who see doomsday scenarios for the Bengals this season, an equal number it seems could see them having a successful year, too.

3. Time to meet Mr. McCarron. Expect an update or two later Wednesday from the Bengals' locker room as it opens to media for the first time since the draft. Quarterback AJ McCarron already has an unofficial news conference scheduled for the moment the locker room opens. While he spoke on a conference call Saturday afternoon when he was drafted, this actually will be his first time talking to Cincinnati since his fifth-round selection. A lot has been written about his personality and said about his play in the last week in particular, and this will be his chance to address some of that. During a stop on his coach's caravan tour Tuesday, McCarron's college head coach, Alabama's Nick Saban, told the Anniston Star that he thought McCarron will be "a great pro player and have a very good career."

4. Bengals add a back. Cincinnati's roster is now up to 87 players with Tuesday's addition of Jeff Scott, a running back and punt returner who played at Mississippi. The undrafted free agent takes the Bengals' post-draft adds up to 11. Four of those 11 have some experience as running backs or are expected to be moved into the backfield when OTAs and minicamps get going later this month. The Bengals also drafted former LSU running back Jeremy Hill in the second round.

Coley Harvey

ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter

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