2012 NFL Draft Grades: "The Bengals Are Poised For Long-Term Success"

Apr 27, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals second first round draft pick guard Kevin Zeitler (left) and head coach Marvin Lewis (right) speak during the press conference at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

The beauty about the NFL draft is that there's so much talent available to teams, a great draft not only can turn a disastrous season around, it can redefine a franchise. In some respects the Cincinnati Bengals have done that, with the pass rushers of 2010 (Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins) and the offensive make-over in 2011 (quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green).

In truth the NFL draft has almost single-handedly turned Cincinnati's franchise from a fledging 4-12 depression in 2010 to a remarkably promising team, compounded with a draft this year most analysts are rating as one of the league's best.

Bucky Brooks with the NFL Network, who says that the Bengals nailed the NFL draft, writes:

Coach Marvin Lewis doesn't get enough credit for quickly rebuilding the Bengals and making them contenders with his high-risk, high-reward approach. The team routinely sees positive results after taking on immensely talented players with minor character concerns, and that strategy was on full display over the weekend. Lewis nabbed three talented prospects (cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, defensive tackle Devon Still and tight end Orson Charles) at great value due to other evaluators' concerns about their football or moral character. Although their issues are minor in nature, their collective talent is undeniable on tape and the Bengals' roster will benefit. Throw in receivers Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones and offensive guard Kevin Zeitler -- solid selections all -- and the Bengals are poised for long-term success.

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