Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. originally graded the Cincinnati Bengals with one of the top two grades after the 2011 NFL draft, in selecting quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green. Additionally Clint Boling has made a handful of starts at right guard in place of Bobbie Williams, whose four-game suspension was recently lifted. Six of the team's eight draft picks are currently on the 53-man roster.
Kiper takes a look back (In$ider) on the Cincinnati Bengals (article originally posted October 7):
Got their guy at QB: He's really off to a great start -- at this pace, he'd be among the top handful of rookies all time in passing yards -- and he's surprising people with his willingness to take shots down the field. They may have lost Palmer, but it's hard to do much more to surround a young guy with potentially elite targets than Cincy has with Gresham and Green. When Jordan Shipley gets healthy, they'll be in pretty good shape.
Looking ahead, the Bengals have a key game in Jacksonville this week then surround the bye week with games against Indy and Seattle. It's a stretch that should have Bengals fans considering a 5-2 start. This is a team that has work to do, but by mixing old and new, it has gotten off to a good start. The Bengals are a long way from No. 32. Thirteen months ago, this team was headed into the season as the defending division champs. Some things have changed, but the transition back appears to be ahead of schedule.