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Off-season grading, rookie CB getting established.

FoxSports, via Football Outsiders, did a run-down of the AFC North's movements. They said of the Bengals:

On the Draft
Cincinnati has built a division champion primarily on the strength of its first day drafting, but it is unclear if this year's haul is going to provide the same kind of impact. In the first round, the Bengals jumped into the run on cornerbacks, tacking South Carolina cover man Johnathan Joseph. The Gamecocks have been something of a cornerback factory recently, turning out both Dunta Robinson and Sheldon Brown, and Joseph's skill set compares favorably with those players. He is very raw, however — Joseph came out early after only one season as a starter — and the learning curve for the position is a steep one. In the second round, Cincinnati took the quick-rising Andrew Whitworth as insurance against the potential departure of longtime right tackle Willie Anderson after this season. Whitworth is not a good athlete, but he's a mountain of a man and he excelled in the rugged SEC. As with the Joseph selection, Whitworth was decent value but not the best player on the board, or even the best player at his position. Cornerback and offensive tackle were two areas where good talent slipped during the first day, and a combination of Winston Justice and Richard Marshall or Jimmy Williams and Eric Winston would have graded out substantially higher than the players the Bengals ended up with.

Things went quickly downhill after the first two picks. Defensive end Frostee Rucker might be popular at the local Wendy's, but none of the boards thought he was worth more than a sixth-round pick; Cincinnati grabbed him at the end of the first day. Three of the Bengals' five picks on day two didn't merit a grade on a single draft board. Linebacker A.J. Nicholson had major character concerns heading into the draft, concerns that his recent arrest on burglary and vandalism charges did nothing to alleviate. Reggie McNeal, the player who draft guru Corey Chavous quixotically insisted was the best quarterback in the draft throughout the NFL Network's television coverage, was the only one of Cincinnati's second-day picks to be considered a steal on two boards, and he's a candidate for a position change. The Bengals envision McNeal as an Antwaan Randle El type, and they'll be working him primarily at receiver.

Recent free agent news
Chad Johnson's getting some new gold fronts. The Bengals restructured his contract — giving him an extra $10 million over the next year — and Johnson will now be in Cincinnati through 2011.

Less publicized but almost as important as the Johnson deal, Cincinnati also re-signed guard Bobbie Williams. The Bengals' offensive line was one of the best in the league last season (they were fourth in Adjusted Line Yards and second in pass protection) and the front office also hopes to re-sign two other important contributors, each entering the last year of their respective contracts: tackle Levi Jones and guard Eric Steinbach.

In other news, the team made Jeremi Johnson the highest paid fullback in the league when they restructured his deal in April. The Bengals also replaced quarterback fourth quarterback Craig Krenzel with Dave Ragone and signed Anthony Wright to serve as Carson Palmer's backup, with Doug Johnson third on the depth chart.

Undrafted free agents of note
Erik Meyer (Eastern Washington) adds more depth at quarterback and is a good scrambler, but he needs to work on his mechanics ... Eric Henderson registered 25 sacks at Georgia Tech and could add depth at defensive end ... Despite losing Matt Schobel to the Eagles, the Bengals have already released the three tight ends they signed as free agents: Greg Estandia, Ryan Hamby and Bristol Olomua.

Here's the link to the Football Outsiders rankings of the offensive line.

Johnathon Joseph is getting "established" in Cincinnati.

The performance of Johnathan Joseph is making Bengals coaches and scouts smile.

The first-round draft pick, a cornerback from South Carolina, is showing the speed, quickness and grasp of the game that the Bengals talked about on draft day.

The sense inside the organization is Joseph will contribute sooner than later as a rookie.

I have the feeling we'll see Joseph start more than a few games; possibly preparing to replace Tory James. I still wonder what the future holds for Keiwan Ratliff; possible future starting safety?