From top to bottom I believe this is the best draft the Bengals have ever had. I don’t think we got an early steal really with Kirkpatrick drafted around where he should have been and the same for Zeitler. We may have even taken them a few picks before they projected, but in no way were the "reaches", IMO. The first round was “solid” and I was originally disappointed in only having a “solid” first two rounds. . After the second round though we nailed the draft(and possibly after the first round) with a ton of value... pick after pick. Most of them also filled needs.
Kirkpatrick should be a starter next year, and provides insurance if Hall is ready to start this year. It also provides us with the starter if all of the CB’s that are in the last year of their deal leave. Even if they return most are getting too old to be reliable/top tier starters.
Zeitler will start day one and upgrade the G position, and the entire line tremendously. I still wish we would have taken DeCastro, but Zeitler figures to be a 10+ year starter and should offer a Pro Bowl at some point.
Still will eventually be the starter, if not this year. As we know, Zimmer don’t really care who starts though and Still figures to get plenty of playing time. Thompson was a steal at the very end of round 3 and should see playing time and provides insurance if Sims isn’t ready to start the year, or is hampered. Still or Thompson also figures to be the eventual starter at DT along side Atkins.
Orson Charles is a stud at TE. He can stretch the field and make some big plays. He is a very willing blocker is loves to get after it, but he is a little undersized to be a real power blocker. His effort will cover for a lot of that and if the coaches get him using great technique it will be mainly a non-issue. Gruden should use a lot of 2TE sets for a variety of reasons, IMO. First, it causes match up problems. Second it keeps the defense off balance and guessing whether we are going to power run or throw. Third, it may put our most talented players on the field. Charles won’t be a starter with Gresham, but he will develop into a good option for Dalton and I believe will make a tremendous impact in both the Passing and Run game.
Sanu and Jones should compete along with Binns for the #2 starter at WR. I’d say the early edge goes to Sanu, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Jones ends up winning this spot. The WR core now has not only depth and options but it’s extremely young when you throw in Shipley, Baby Hawk, and Whalen. Though I think Whalen is likely cut/PS if Shipley is ready. One of these two will likely be the starter either in the future and very possibly this year.
If Mays and/or Sands slip at Saftety and we don’t convert one of the older CB’s to Safety Iloka provides insurance THIS season while coaching him he could very easily develop into the Starter at Safety. He has a ton of upside and if he can fix his tackling issues will be a good starter.
I wasn’t a big fan of the Boom pick personally. I can’t see him supplanting Peerman with Peerman’s outstanding play on ST’s. I’ve also not given up on Peerman’s ability to run the ball if given the chance. That said, Boom is an upgrade for the PS and protects against injuries.
Burfict….. I know a lot of people werent’ fans of this LB. I think he plays faster “on the field” then his numbers indicate. He plays with a lot of passion. My only concern is not off the field but on the field and more importantly IN THE LOCKER ROOM. If there are any indications of him causing problems in the Locker Room he should be cut day one.
When all is said and done we should see atleast 4 starters, IMO and