2012 NFL Draft Grades: Bengals Receiving High Praise For Their Friday Selections

Apr 27, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis speaks during the press conference at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

For the most part the talking heads on television like what the Bengals are doing, propelled in opinion by Cincinnati's selections on Friday. Mike Mayock described the Cincinnati Bengals as having one of the best drafts so far this year. Jon Gruden and Herm Edwards with ESPN, who ranked the Bengals with the second-best draft thus far, love what they're seeing.

The SB Nation warroom/round table crew reflect on the division's selections, giving mucho props to Cincinnati's draft.

Fox Sports gives the Bengals high marks:

Our own SB Nation's Joel Thorman gives the Bengals an "A" writing:

Quantity is the word here. Five total picks in the first 93 picks -- Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin Zeitler, Devon Still, Mohamed Sanu and Brandon Thompson. All are impact players, some as soon as this year.

Don Banks with Sports Illustrated reflects on the team's selection of Sanu:

Don't know if any karma was involved or not, but kind of a nice twist to see the Bengals wind up drafting Rutgers receiver Mohammed Sanu, who got cruelly pranked Thursday night by an anonymous caller who reached him and said he had just been selected by Cincinnati in the first round.

The money in the third round isn't the same (Sanu went 83rd overall), but here's hoping the opportunity is just as abundant. Sanu is a solid young man who I got the chance to write about this spring, and couldn't help but be impressed with.

Sports Illustrated's draft tracker, analyzed by Cold Hard Football Facts, offers a brief analysis of Cincinnati's selection of Devon Still:

The Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year was expected by many to go in the first round (he was invited to Radio City on Thursday). Paired with DT Geno Atkins (7.5 sacks in 2011), the Bengals have the potential to field one of the most devastating defensive interiors in the NFL.

Pete Prisco with CBSSports.com gives the Bengals a "B" for selecting Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still at No. 53:

This kid was once considered a potential top-10 pick. He had some off-field issues, but he made plays. He will make the inside four of the Bengals very tough.

Jeff Reynolds with NFLDraftScout.com (via CBSSports.com) writes of Still:

Still was considered a top-10 pick in some circles prior to the NFL Scouting Combine, when the stars of Fletcher Cox (Mississippi State) and Dontari Poe (Memphis) caused the oft-injured Still to fizzle. At 6-5, 307, he can be an impact player inside if motivated.

Reynolds offers the Mohamed Sanu selection is exactly what the Bengals need to replace departing wide receiver Jerome Simpson:

A precise route-runner, Sanu can benefit from coverage shaded toward A.J. Green on the other side and should be able to reasonably replace Jerome Simpson's production -- 50 catches, 725 yards, four touchdowns in 2011.

And on Thompson, the Bengals second defensive tackle taken on Friday?

Once discussed as a borderline first-round pick, Thompson can play nose tackle or under tackle in Mike Zimmer's defense, and pairs with second-rounder Devon Still to add plenty of stability to the Bengals' line.

Mel Kiper Jr. didn't bother offering a reaction or grade for Cincinnati's second-day selections and John Clayton didn't list the Bengals as one of his six teams that he described as either a winner or loser from the second and third rounds. Chad Reuter of the NFL Network didn't offer any commentary on Cincinnati's selections at all.

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