With the NFL Draft now a week old, there's been plenty of time for the national media to formulate their grades for the Bengals' 2014 draft class.
After absolutely stealing CB Darquze Dennard at No. 24, it would have been hard for Cincinnati to screw this up too badly. The Bengals kept their momentum going with later selections of RB Jeremy Hill (likely a BenJarvus Green-Ellis replacement) and DE Will Clarke. Trading up for C Russell Bodine — just the third trade-up in team history — was an odd move, even though Cincinnati needed someone to push Trevor Robinson. Ultimate judgment of this class, no matter how unfair, may rest with the future of QB AJ McCarron.
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.
Dennard was a good, needed choice in the first round. The Bengals' cornerbacks are older and Dennard gives them a good all-around outside cornerback. Hill provides a good backup for Giovani Bernard, but Ohio State's Carlos Hyde would have been a better choice.
Darqueze Dennard may lack the flashy athleticism to get scouts excited but he's a pro-ready corner who plays with toughness and poise against the pass and run. Jeremy Hill is a tough, downhill runner who will complement last year's pickup of air-back Gio Bernard quite well and defensive end Will Clarke offers the length and blue-collar work ethic to do the same with last year's gamble on Margus Hunt. AJ McCarron will get the press but interior lineman Russell Bodine is the one who could make an impact in Cincinnati as he has the grit and strength to push for time at center or guard.
Elliot Harrison with NFL.com called the Bengals "winners" for their draft, while ESPN's Todd McShay shied away from draft grades, but did call Cincy's pick of Darqueze Dennard one of the best in the entire draft.
But at the end of the day, the only way to truly grade a draft is to re-visit it in 2-3 years.
Spoiler Alert: Unless you're grading a draft from 3 or more years ago, the grade that I give your draft grades is an F.— NFL Philosophy (@NFLosophy) May 13, 2014