NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Dre Kirkpatrick (R) of Alabama holds up a jersey as he stands on stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was selected #17 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of during the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
The grades for teams and their picks in the first round are coming fast and furious. So far the grades for the Bengals two first day picks have been pretty generous and the more time that we let what they've done sink in, the more we're inclined to agree with the high marks. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (AKA "Swagger") and offensive guard Kevin Zeitler are "plug and play" talents who should come in and start for the team right away.
CBS Sports' Pete Prisco released his first ground grades today and while most of the marks were positive, there were a couple of harsh assessments in there. So, what did he say about the two new additions to the Bengals' roster?
Regarding their pick of cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick at No.17, Prisco gave an "A". His reasoning:
They have questions about Leon Hall coming off an injury, so I like this pick. He was once considered a potential top-10 pick. I like it.
And that's really the beauty of the Kirkpatrick selection. It provides depth AND a possible starter at the position and gives the team a player who was on two national championship teams. Furthermore, Kirkpatrick has far less character questions than a player like Janoris Jenkins, so fans won't have to hear the usual "Bengals love bad character players" rhetoric. Though this pick was predictable, a solid "A" grade seems to be an accurate assessment.
The second pick that the Bengals made garnered more mixed opinions than that of Kirkpatrick. Zeitler is a solid player and it's great that the team gained another pick in the middle of the draft, but most thought that the team should have gone with the draft's consensus top guard in David DeCastro. Of the Zeitler selection, Prisco gave it a "B".
Bengals trade down and get a feisty tough inside player. I like this move. Good move.
Zeltler will come in and likely start at the right guard position, bringing a nasty, "mauler"-type of player. He should be an immense help in the running game for 2012 and will be welcomed with open arms.
With these two grades, it gives the Bengals roughly a "B+" or "A-" for the round, which I think most would agree with. Interestingly enough, Prisco's only "F" grade went to the Browns for their pick at No.22 in quarterback, Brandon Weeden.