There are several way to look at a draft. Part of that is determined by how many holes you have to fill and a decision if you want to improve more in the interest of the long term or the short term. The Bengals, in my opinion, did well on both counts. Much of what I am going to try to do in this post is, I will admit, pretty subjective. I tried to view it as reasonably but whenever you apply numbers, which are digital, to the real world, which is analog, there will always be gaps but I have tried to do just that.
I have decided to use a numerical scale of 1 to 10 with 5 being the performance of an average NFL player. I will identify the 22 starting positions by player but since some lost time due to injury I decided to factor in the performance of their backup. I did this for the 09 season and what I see as realistic in 2010 based on the total effect of another year of experience both as individuals and as a unit. For example, an improvement on one position group may affect the performance group such as an improve pass rush making things easier for D backfield. 2010 estimations also include the performance of those I think will replace current starters.
I used the only opinions for which I am the foremost expert - my own. I fully expect your opinions to be different and perhaps even more valid but my purpose is to illustrate a point not to necessarily be totally accurate. My assumption is that you need an average of 6.0 to7 as a team to be in serious playoff contention. OK here goes:
O Position 09 10 D Position 09 10
QB Palmer 6.0 7.0 DE Odom 6.5 7.0
RB Benson 8.0 8.5 DE Johnson 6.5 7.0
TE whoever 3.0 6.0 DT Peko 7.0 7.5
LT Whit 5.5 6.5 DT Tank 6.0 7.0
LG whoever 4.5 5.5 LB Rey 6.5 7.0
C Cook 5.0 6.0 LB Jones 7.0 7.0
RG Bobby 5.5 6.0 LB Rivers 6.0 6.5
RT whoever 4.5 6.0 FS Crocker 6.0 6.5
WR Chad 6.5 7.0 SS Roy 6.0 6.0
WR Coles 4.0 6.0 CB Hall 8.5 9.0
Slot Caldwell 4.0 6.0 CB Joseph 8.0 8.5
Totals 56.5 70.5 67.5 79.0
Ave, 5.14 6.4 6.14 7.18
09 Ave (O & D) = 5.64
10 Ave (O & D)= 6.80
I am sure some one will check my math but I think it is correct. The result indicates that last year we were just what I think we were a team that was actually reforming and rebuilding who did a bit better than we could expect but it also shows that we are a stronger and more valid playoff contender.
Please enjoy tearing my assessment apart. I feel good about the upcoming season and this illustrates why. I realize that I didn't include several factors such as kicker and ST play which means to play of a lot of our players are not factored in. I am happy to stand by and explain the reasoning for any of my numbers but am also quite willing to ammend them where a consensus shows them faulty.