CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 12: Kevin Zeitler #68 of the Cincinnati Bengals stretches during a rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium on May 12, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Draft experts around the country seem to agree on one thing: the Cincinnati Bengals deserve an A for their 2012 draft. Every pick had solid value, and the Bengals flawlessly addressed their major needs throughout the draft. The unorthodox experts over at Cold Hard Football Facts agree, giving the Bengals an A for the "fillability" of their draft picks.
They believe that the Bengals weaknesses in 2011 were competitiveness against quality teams, big play ability, mediocre pass defense, and an average offensive line. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that the CHFF folks loved the Bengals two first round picks:
Alabama playmaker Dre Kirkpatrick with the first pick could prove just what Dr. CHFF ordered for the team. Kevin Zeitler, the top player on Wisconsin’s dominant offensive line last year, represents two perfect needs picks in the first round alone.
Though Kirkpatrick failed to record an interception in his final year at Alabama, his nose for the ball and devastating hits should provide the Bengals with an instant upgrade in the "playmaking" category. Zeitler, the old school mauler who loves to run-block, should help improve upon the Bengals' "Offensive Hog Index" (another CHFF mainstay), where they were ranked 20th in the league last year.
The Bengals were also given a little love for their moves in free agency:
There are also some gems in free agency, too. Green-Ellis was probably the most underrated back in football during his time at New England: a guy who consistently bangs out tough yards, scores a lot of TDs and never fumbles. All in all, an exciting off-season so far for the Bengals.
The signing of Green-Ellis (apparently dubbed "Bennie" by Marvin Lewis) and his unimpressive 3.7 yards/carry in 2011 has been one of the more polarizing moves this offseason, but his short yardage expertise and not-being-Cedric-Benson-ness is exactly what the Bengals need in 2012.
The fellas at Cold Hard Football Facts have it right, certainly an exciting off-season so far.