I've said this before and I'll say it again. Grading drafts less than one full day after Mr. Irrelevant is the most pointless act in all of professional sports. It's like grading dinner even before getting your appetizer. It's like buying a suit before trying it on and finding out you look god-awful in it -- especially because of those fun-bags (make your own conclusion what I mean). There's absolutely no structure to it while most blow smoke out of their wind pipes as a simple man's way of pointing out their impression of the draft. I get that. But can't you just say they drafted well, good, great, poorly, awful, excellent, perfect, fantastic, (bloody) marvelous, dreamy, pleasant, sinful, unpleasant, nifty, out of this world, displeasing, neat, swell, tremendous, deleterious (trust me, it applies) or more offensive than Gollum. Adjectives, nouns, verbs and colorful metaphors always work better than single letters, in my opinion.
The ironic part is the reminder that it generally takes a few years to accurately grade a draft. So why do it? I don't mind people's draft perspectives. Tell us why we did well, didn't do well. Giving us a grouping of letters doesn't tell us a thing. Furthermore, some people grade tough and some with a curve. Which one are you?
Even so, the Bengals addressed their needs. In that respect, they should get a solid A. Now, we know nothing of Jerome Simpson other than his monster hands, sloppy routes and high character. Oh, and he dominated small schools with 44 receiving touchdowns -- 27 in his final two seasons. Do you think this pick deserves a lower grade simply because he doesn't have the name recognition the others had even though with similar attributes and tremendous touchdown stats? Or perhaps that wacky and almost flawless projection chart on where a player should land, wasn't totally satisfied. BS. Who determines that? What's the penalty? What would the team have to do to get an A? Pick up immediate impact starters? We didn't need a lot of them. Couldn't use them that way anyway. Not with some of these contracts.
John Czarnecki gave the Bengals a "B" and said nothing of why they didn't get an "A".
Jason Cole wasn't so nice. He gave the Bengals a "D-" and gave Simpson a negative mark because, well, we're not sure. He managed to fumble the following:
Calling Simpson a “negative” is a little strong, but he’s just a reminder of how bad the situation is there between the dismissal of Chris Henry and the mouthing off by Chad Johnson
Let me paraphrase. Simpson is a negative because of Chad Johnson and Chris Henry. Yeap. Ultimately Cole, who has his fair share of retractions, jumped on the Bengals for drafting Jason Shirley. OK, I can submit. I'll give him that. But one pick isn't 90% of a team's draft. In fact, using my third grade math, the Bengals had 10 picks and specifically pointed out Shirley as a bad pick. That's 10%. That's a high B, is it not?
MSN makes the same folly. Calling the Simpson pick a "project" assuming that he was taken while "seasoned wide receivers were on the board." Note to everyone at Coastal Carolina. No matter how many games that you play, you will never be seasoned. Even if you start as a true freshman and score 44 career touchdowns -- or play in a division that most commentators compare to junior high school football. MSN says nothing of Shirley and grades the Bengals with a "C+". Even so, the fans that are most affected by this are coming around and accepting it. Well, it's not there's much we can do, is there?
I suppose everyone's grading system is really really different from the next guy -- which is my general argument.
Pete Prisco gave the Bengals a "C" because they drafted three guys with "character concerns". Oh boy. Here we go again. Shirley's deal is well documented (we're giving everyone that) and Lewis admits it's a risk. Fine. The other two, we're not so sure about. The biggest folly in all the pre-draft hype is this added dimension -- sadly, it's one man's perspective of what constitutes as "character concerns". Some point out it's simply because a player might lie in an interview.
Show of hands, how many of you have lied during your job interview? Hey, good seeing you again George O'Leary. Sorry, that was out of character for me -- that should give the Bengals an "F" using Cole's logic. Perhaps the resume was a little overdone. Maybe you really don't know how a computer beyond Microsoft Word and surfing the 'net. But that shouldn't stop you from applying for programming positions. Hey, you got the high paying job. Way to go. It's a nasty world out there and sometimes you have to do, what you have to do, to make it work.
So we're guessing that character flags for Anthony Collins and Pat Sims is well, sadly orchestrated by over-reactionists in response to Chancellor Goodell's Reign of Fire. Even more sadly, these players get little to no chance to redeeming their name or promoting their quality. We're not saying to give Cincinnati a free pass, but this general character crap is getting way out of hand. It's attached to nearly every player now.
Larry Weisman questioned the Bengals draft by asking: "But who's going to rush the passer?" Antwan Odom and Robert Geathers. Idiot.
I like Chick Ludwig a lot. But when he and Mark Curnutte grade the team, I wondered what their standard was? It's not like they're grading anyone else establishing a base of grading scales. Perhaps it's where previous drafts fall in line with this one.
And here, I saved the best for last. Our best friend and exception Bengals promoter Peter King writes:
2. Cincinnati. For one reason: The Bengals stubbornly turned down Washington's offer of first- and third-round picks for Chad Johnson (and the ransom could have gone higher, to a second-rounder with decent production by Johnson and a first-rounder if he starred in Washington). I am in full agreement that what Johnson is doing is selfish and the team should not stand for it. But I guess this would be my question -- if Johnson were a decent, quiet, all-team guy at age 30, wouldn't you think it wise to deal him for first- and second-round picks. I sure would.
No doubt. But direct your problem with the player. Not the justified argument that Chad should either give back his bonus money, or earn his keep. It's apologists like King that makes the NFL so frustrating to love. The player is always right and the owners are more evil than South Park Satan.
Then again, perhaps I'm just making something out of nothing. I do that a lot.