2014 NFL Draft: Bengals Grades in Round Two and Three

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a look at the second day of the 2014 NFL draft for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU: In truth, I love this pick. A physical runner, that's not like the indecisive players we've had in the past. Hill finds a crease and shoots down-hill. You could question the value, but Hill was likely gone and Cincinnati's preferences for running back squeezes tight. The Bengals could still use help at center, and USC center Marcus Martin was available when Cincinnati selected at No. 55. Some will question why not Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde, but most of those are Buckeyes fans with scarlet and gray blinders on the subject (and this comes from a Buckeye fan). Running backs coach Kyle Caskey added that the Bengals liked Hill over Hyde "because of his ability to make people miss. Hyde had bigger holes at OSU."

The Bengals RB Position Just Got Interesting: In two years, the Bengals have drafted Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill; two backs that couldn't be any more different. Yet soon, if this plan gels together like the two-back punch that this is developing into, we could see an offensive philosophy that hasn't been seen in nearly 30 years. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Grade: B+

Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia: A big, tall player that plays big with a high ceiling. The Smoking Musket, SB Nation's West Virginia site, writes this scouting report.

Clarke came to WVU as a 6'6″ 240 lbs freshman in 2009 where he redshirted his first year. He spent significant time in the weight room and filled out to 273 lbs and grew one inch. It was that work with the strength coaches and in the weight room that earned him the Iron Mountaineer Award three times becoming the only player to do so. The award is given to the player who was the best all-around conditioned athlete. When you think of a few of Clarke's teammates during his career - Austin, Bailey and Irvin to name a few - winning that particular award stands out and is a testament to his work ethic.

Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther would like to add some weight, which has been virtually consistent with the player that he could be replacing... Michael Johnson.

When they were drafted:

Michael Johnson (2009) Will Clarke (2014)
Height 6'7 6'6
Weight 260 271

From Johnson's ESPN Scouting report in 2009, followed by Clarke's in 2014:

Scout_inc_michael_johnson_medium

Will_clarke_espn_medium

And there's the fact that Johnson was also a former third-round pick.

We're not making the direct comparison, nor arguing that Clarke is the next Johnson. However, the Michael Johnson that left Cincinnati was far and away not the same player that Cincinnati drafted in 2009. There was a period of required development, mostly inspired by Johnson's self-motivation through the years -- specifically when he was playing on contract years. I like this pick but I'm not expecting immediate contributions. But that's the role of recent drafts from the Bengals.

However, based on his work ethic, that transition might happen sooner.

Grade: B

The Ultimate Tease: When the Cincinnati Bengals were on the clock Friday, the NFL Network would go to commercial break.

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