Apr 27, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals first round draft picks Dre Kirkpatrick and Kevin Zeitler with head coach Marvin Lewis hold up their jerseys during the press conference at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
What is going on with the Cincinnati Bengals? When was the last time they received a high amount of praise in back-to-back drafts, yet alone make good value picks with a majority of their selections and not reach for a prospect? Mike Brown is still the owner, right?
To answer that last one, yes, Mike Brown still owns the Bengals. But it seems as if the tides have turned and the Bengals are setting themselves up for a new chapter as a franchise. Brown has been working his crafty, sometimes maddening, magic to help set-up the Bengals for long-term success.
Brown has been getting rid of the old and coming in with the new. Early in the 2011 season Brown dealt a disgruntled Carson Palmer to the Oakland Raiders for a first-round pick in 2012 and a second-round pick in 2013. He also sent Chad Ochocinco to the New England Patriots for two future draft picks, prior to the 2011 season. In order to replace both players Brown drafted Andy Dalton and A.J. Green in the first two rounds of the 2011 draft. Both Dalton and Green had immediate impacts on the team as they both helped guide the Bengals to the playoffs.
And this year's draft was no different as the Bengals targeted players to replace some of their former players.
SB Nation's, Mocking The Draft released their 2012 NFL Draft grades for the Bengals and the rest of the AFC North. Here is what they had to say about the Bengals:
Team Grade: A+ - The Bengals had themselves one hell of a draft. They upgraded every area of need and added a bunch of steals. Adding Thompson and Still to that defensive line is downright scary and they improved greatly at WR with the selections of Sanu and Jones to pair with A.J. Green. This draft class could make the Bengals a force to be reckoned with in the brutal AFC North for a long time.
Overall, the Bengals had an outstanding draft thanks to the coaching staff, the scouts, and Brown. As long as every player performs up to expectations and remains healthy, Cincinnati should be contending with their divisional foes, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, on a consistent basis.
In case anyone was wondering, here is how the rest of the AFC North was graded by Mocking The Draft:
Pittsburgh Steelers: A
Baltimore Ravens: B
Cleveland Browns: C-