Nearly nine months later, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. reflected on every team's draft picks from the 2013 NFL draft and compared his grade to the grade that he applied the day after last year's draft. At the end of the day, Kiper gave Cincinnati an "A-". Now, he's lowered it to a "B+" (In$ider), largely because once you get past Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard, not much else happened with this class last year -- with the hopes that most will eventually develop into their respective roles.
I really liked the Bengals' draft, and gave it one of my top grades. I wrote: "The Bengals seem to be a groove with the draft, the only downside being the picks that came via the Carson Palmer deal are now spent. It was fun while it lasted."
It sure was fun, especially when you consider that extra second-round pick turned into Giovani Bernard, who was easily one of the top rookies this season, and not only ran the ball well but was second among all rookies in catches. Eifert wasn't a star, but he could become a major player here, and he had a catch in every game, which isn't easy to do when there are good weapons all over this offense.
Hunt saw some time, but we don't know if he'll ever become a player. There really isn't much after that, but the first two picks look fine, and this wasn't a team with major holes going in. I think the grade holds up OK.
By our count, Eifert, Bernard and Margus Hunt were the only players to have significant snaps on either offense or defense. Shawn Williams, who led the Bengals in special teams tackles this season, is perhaps the most under-appreciated rookie. But he only played 11 defensive snaps and, as a third-round pick, that's your eventual placement. However, rookie production doesn't concern us right now. It did in the 90s, sure. Not today.