I understand that Mike Brown has a really terrible record in Cincinnati, some of it deservedly so. However, I think it bears saying that he has drafted extremely well in the past few years. Specifically, let's look at successful draft picks from the past three drafts:
Drafted two members of the starting secondary: Leon Hall, the Pro Bowl caliber cornerback, in the first round and Chinedum Ndukwe, the starting safety, in the seventh rounder. The free agent signing of Roy Williams made Marvin White expendable, he was the 2007 fourth round pick. The remainder of the draft was a wash. Kenny Irons was a poor pick at the time, and injury derailed a promising preseason. Overall, I give this draft a B, as it landed two players on a top defensive unit.
This is where a great run began. If you remember, many Bengals fans were irate that New Orleans surrendered their third round pick to jump ahead of the Bengals and grab Sedrick Ellis, when the Bengals needed defensive tackle. The Bengals held tight and got Keith Rivers with the first pick and Pat Sims with the third. Those two together, to me, are more valuable than just having Ellis, as Sims and Ellis have been comparable in play. Rivers is a solid linebacker, not spectacular, but very good, and his professionalism is key in the locker room. This draft added Andre Caldwell in the third, who started out great this year, but has faded recently. The Bengals took Anthony Collins in the fourth round, and he's been a decent offensive lineman, and as Andre Smith continues to develop, will provide great depth for the offensive line. That earns an A-, with four solid contributors on a playoff caliber team. The jury is out on Jerome Simpson, but that pick looks like a reach at this point. You can't ge them all, can you?
Here's where Mike Brown knocked it out of the park: Andre Smith, now that he's signed and in shape, is starting to take over that right tackle slot. He'll be force by the playoffs, giving great depth to this line. Rey Mauluga, second round, and Michael Johnson in the third were absolute steals. I think I could have made those picks. That's two standout performers on a great defensive unit. Michael Johnson is really coming into his own. Kevin Huber is a great punter and Bernard Scott is a great kickoff returner/backup running back. You can't underestimate the importance of special teams. Now, what is rapidly becoming, to me, the cherry on the top: Morgan Trent in the sixth round. With the exception of the Louis Murphy reception, Trent has become a fantastic nickel corner, drastically upgrading the previous performances from David Jones, or whoever gave up long bombs every week. Trent was fantastic in the win over Pittsburgh on the road. That made this draft an A+
So, from this draft, if Andre Smith starts, which I beleive he will soon, the last three drafts have landed seven key performers on defense, two great special teamers, and three important offensive players. The offense does leave a little to be desired, but with our experienced core and undrafted college free agent Kyle Cook, we've changed to offense. It now works in concert with our defense. Of course, Carson's play has drastically fallen off. He's lost accuracy and velocity from his elbow injury, and clearly is not as consistent as he once was. In the coming drafts, I think they'll need to draft a developmental quarterback in the first or second round. I know that's blasphemy, but you have to think ahead in the draft. Continue to bolster the offensive and defensive lines.
What do you think of the last few Bengal drafts?