Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: A Grade
Great pick. This is really the best the Bengals could have hoped for. They had a big need at cornerback - thanks to aging players and the departure of Mike Zimmer - and some could argue that Darqueze Dennard was the best player at his position in this class. I wouldn't have said that, but the fact remains that this is very good value for Dennard, who could have easily gone at No. 14 to Chicago.
Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU: D Grade
What a terrible pick. The only thing preventing this from being a Millen is that Jeremy Hill could have been chosen a bit earlier than this. But this makes no sense. The Bengals already have Giovanni Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis on the roster, so they didn't need to add Hill. Furthermore, Hill has been arrested twice over the past few years, so I better not hear from any Cincinnati fans telling me that the front office no longer selects players with character concerns.
Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia: C Grade
I'm not a big fan of this scheme fit because I thought Will Clarke would be better off in a 3-4. However, he fills a need as a defensive end, given that Cincinnati lost Michael Johnson in free agency to Tampa Bay. Clarke probably should have gone in the fourth round, so this is only a very slight reach.
Russell Bodine, C, North Carolina: B- Grade
As with the Patriots, the Bengals are making a very slight reach, but filling a huge need in the process. The Bengals have a huge hole at center, so this fourth-rounder could actually start right away.
A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama: C+ Grade
Did A.J. McCarron mean he would be picked around the 16th selection in the fifth round? I don't like this pick as much as Kansas City's Aaron Murray choice because McCarron has no chance to be a starter. I can't stand it when analysts say that McCarron was a winner. That's like saying Mark Sanchez was a winner for the Jets in 2009-2011. McCarron's defense carried him, and any other quarterback would've enjoyed similar success. He's a career backup at best.
Marquis Flowers, OLB, Arizona: C Grade
Cincinnati has ignored the linebacker position thus far. Depth was needed, so taking one at this point makes sense. There were better linebackers available, but it's hard to call a pick a reach at the end of Round 6.
James Wright, WR, LSU: C Grade
I didn't have James Wright as a draftable prospect either. The Bengals did need a receiver after losing Andrew Hawkins, but why not go with Brandon Coleman?
Lavelle Westbrooks, CB, Georgia Southern: B Grade
Solid range fit for the Bengals here. This is only their second cornerback, and they were expected to select multiple players at that position.
Cincinnati Bengals: C Grade
Goals Entering the 2014 NFL Draft: The Bengals don't believe in signing free agents, so they'll have to find replacements for the players they lost in free agency during the draft. This includes Michael Johnson and Anthony Collins. However, cornerback could be the team's biggest need, given that Mike Zimmer will no longer be around to get the most out of the players at that position. Cincinnati also needs to think about finding a new quarterback because Andy Dalton doesn't appear to have what it takes to lead the team deep into the playoffs.
2014 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Bengals got off to a good start with Darqueze Dennard, who shouldn't have been available at No. 24. However, they quickly faded after that. Many of their second- and third-day selections made little sense. Picking Jeremy Hill in the second round was silly, as was taking a flier on A.J. McCarron, who has no upside to ever become a starting quarterback.
Cincinnati tried to fill some of its non-cornerback needs in Rounds 3 and 4 with Will Clarke and Russell Bodine. That said, the former has a questionable scheme fit. Clarke would be better off in a 3-4, so he likely won't be a viable replacement for Michael Johnson. As for Bodine, he could start at center this upcoming season, but he was a slight reach.
The Bengals didn't come away with a very good haul. Only two players have a shot at starting, so they needed to do much better if they wanted to retain the AFC North crown.
Source: Walter Football