The front office and coaching staff have been quoted numerous times in the Marv Lewis tenure stating that their focus is on "building through the draft." But is this actually true? Let's look:
The newly released Bengals 53-man roster for opening weekend 2012 has the following characteristics with respect to player acquisition:
Original Bengal Draft Picks (13) -- Dalton, Scott, Green, Whalen, Sanu, MJones, Gresham, Charles, Smith, Zeitler, Boling, Whitworth, Collins
Original College Free Agent Signing (2) -- Pressley* (re-signed as FA after spending time in TB after released by Bengals), Robinson
* Trade Acquisition (1) -- Leonard
* FA Acquisition (10) -- Gradkowski, Green-Ellis, Peerman, Binns, Tate, Hawkins, Lee, Roland, Cook, Faine
Original Bengal Draft Picks (11) -- Geathers, Dunlap, Johnson, Peko, Atkins, Thompson, Still, Maualuga, Hall, Kirkpatrick, Iloka
Original College Free Agent Signing (4) -- Skuta, Burfict, Rey, Miles
* Trade Acquisition (2) -- Mays, Nelson
* FA Acquisition (7) -- Anderson, Lawson, Howard, Clements, AJones, Allen, Newman
Original Bengal Draft Picks (1) -- Huber
* FA Acquisition (2) -- Nugent, Harris
Considering the initial 53-man roster, the Bengals have drafted 25 (47.2%) of the players and have been the original signers of 6 (11.3%) more. Together this represents 31 (58.4%) players who started their careers here. If the current 7-man Practice Squad is included, the numbers are 27/60 (45%) drafted -- with addition of Hudson & Herron -- and original signers of 38/60 (63.3%) -- with addition of CFAs Brooks, Lewis-Harris, Davis & Lamur.
It is probably reasonable to consider original CFA signees in the stats because these players were recognized and pursued through the processes that were driven through our draft evaluations.
Breaking down the areas of the extended team (53-man roster plus PS), it is impressive that 7 or 8 roster Defensive Lineman and 6 of 10 Offensive Linemen were drafted by the team. It might be concerning that only 1 of 4 Safeties, 1 of 7 LBs and 2 of 7 RBs were drafted by the club,
With the relatively small numbers that compose sub-areas of the roster, it is difficult to jump to conclusions. However, it seem safe to say that the Bengals are doing decently in their evaluation process with respect to who they are keeping on their roster. To make this statement more relevant, one would want to look at the compositions of other teams to see where the Bengals stand comparatively. More importantly, one would want to see the team be competitive, win games and have some success in the playoffs -- after all, this is what it is all about, isn't it? The prior comments of Mike Brown noting that the team was 10th in the league with respect to retained draft picks fell on deaf ears to many who just want to see a winning team. And for a team that "builds through the draft," I would like to see more success at RB, LB and Safety.