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ESPN and Scouts Inc devised a formula, as an alternative to using letter grades, that judges a team's selections after the NFL Draft. The forumula is explained as follows:
While we made sure to factor in team needs, we felt value was more important and weighted it more in our formula. Our feeling is that getting value has a bigger impact on a draft class than addressing, and possibly reaching for, team needs. And unlike most draft reviews, we wanted to make sure we accounted for the year-round use of draft picks.
They ranked the Cincinnati Bengals as having the seventh best draft, writing:
The Bengals landed the only player in this draft who was a value at their most-pressing need when they brought in TE Jermaine Gresham. They were then slightly ahead of the curve from a talent standpoint with their next five picks, though DE Carlos Dunlap is the wild card at No. 54 because of maturity issues.
CBS' Pete Prisco grades the Bengals with the arbitrary "B+" write, "I really like the haul they had in this draft. Getting tight end Jermaine Gresham will really help the passing game. So will Shipley. The Bengals' drafting as of late has really paid off."
Fox Sports' John Czarnecki also gives the Bengals a solid B:
Bengals QB Carson Palmer will be excited with Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham who can stretch the field and has been given a clean bill of health after missing all of last season with a knee injury. Most mock drafts had Gresham landing here. The Bengals typically select some risky players, but they claim that Carlos Dunlap’s DUI charge prior to the SEC championship game was an aberration. Dunlap was a great pass rusher at Florida and he has drawn comparisons to Julius Peppers because he’s 6-6 and 277 pounds and very athletic. His nickname was “Baby Freak” because he drew comparisons to former Gator Jevon Kearse. Dunlap had 26 tackles for losses and 19 1/2 sacks in his three-year career. Texas WR Jordan Shipley was very productive in college with at least six games with 10 or more catches. He’s a physical, deep-threat receiver. Wake Forest CB Brandon Ghee has been compared favorably to current Bengals starter Johnathan Joseph. Ghee started 33 games, but came up with only one interception. The steal of their draft could be WR Dezmon Briscoe of Kansas who ran poorly at the Combine and has some off-the-field issues but once was considered just a step behind Dez Bryant in the Big 12 Conference.
Mel Kiper liked the Bengals draft... we think. Here's what he wrote about them.
Everywhere you look on the Cincy draft board, you see players you assumed could go much higher. But that also means they took risks on guys. At No. 21, the Bengals got the draft's best tight end in Jermaine Gresham, but he didn't play in 2009. At No. 60, they got a potentially significant talent in Carlos Dunlap, a guy at one time considered a lock for the top 10. Problem is he rarely played like it, off-field issues aside. Poor Brandon Ghee was the last guy in the green room, which means most thought he could be at least a second-round pick. The Bengals nabbed him at No. 96. Roddrick Muckelroy is a decent pick at No. 131, and I also like the Dezmon Briscoe pick late in the sixth round.
So obviously, Mel was impressed enough to give the Bengals a solid "C".
Rob Rang of NFL Draft Scout gave the Bengals a C+:
The Bengals invested a third-round pick last April in tight end Chase Coffman but were disappointed with his inability to make an impact as a rookie. This year's first-round pick, TE Jermaine Gresham, gives the club a big-play threat down the seam that Carson Palmer can exploit when defenses attempt to load up to stop the Bengals' powerful running game. The Bengals were impressed enough with the toughness of former Texas' receiver Quan Cosby, an undrafted free agent, that they drafted a faster version of him in another former Longhorn, Jordan Shipley. Shipley isn't an elite athlete, but could develop quickly into a reliable slot receiver and returner for the Bengals. The Bengals gambled on athleticism with defensive end Carlos Dunlap and cornerback Brandon Ghee, two players with terrific upside, but only mediocre performances in the SEC. Of their third-day picks, Texas linebacker Rod Muckleroy and Kansas wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe fill needs.
Note: It should be pointed out that while they could have been disappointed, Lewis pointed out last week that they weren't expecting Chase to make an impact in the first place. And I doubt they drafted Shipley because they were "impressed" with Cosby.
Clifton Brown gives the Bengals a B+:
QB Carson Palmer needed more weapons, and they were they provided. Jermaine Gresham was the draft's best tight end. Jordan Shipley should be a reliable slot receiver. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap has serious potential as a pass rusher if he becomes more disciplined.