It's not often that the Cincinnati Bengals receive favorable national attention. Admittedly, often the attention they've received in the past is well-deserved. John Clayton is shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU, about the Bengals draft.
What's going on with the Bengals? Cincinnati's Day 2 drafting was as solid as its Day 1 selections. There were no reaches, no controversies and even a nice story. The Bengals earned good grades for first-day selections Andre Smith and Rey Maualuga. On the second day, they left themselves without much criticism after taking defensive end Michael Johnson, tight end Chase Coffman and center Jonathan Luigs, who might start. The good story was taking University of Cincinnati punter Kevin Huber, who learned of the selection while golfing. The secret to their success was the Senior Bowl; the Bengals coached four of their draft choices in that game.
On the other hand, James Walker thrives on his opinion that the Bengals are still on the terrorist watch-list implemented in 2006 by Roger Goodell.
The Bengals continued their trend of taking risks high in the draft, starting in the first round with Smith.
Without a doubt, the Alabama left tackle was one of the best players in the country during the college season. He has tremendous talent. But a suspension before the Crimson Tide's Sugar Bowl game, a poor NFL combine and not-so-great pro day led to questions about his work ethic and decision-making. The Bengals will invest a lot of guaranteed money in Smith, which raises even more questions. Add the fact that Virginia left tackle Eugene Monroe, a much safer pick, was still available at No. 6 and that will add a lot of pressure for Cincinnati's selection of Smith to pan out well.
Cincinnati also took another player with somewhat similar issues in Georgia Tech defensive end Michael Johnson in the third round. He has tremendous first-day ability, but apparently every NFL team feels he has second-day motivation. Again, it will be up to the coaches to get the best out of Johnson at all times.
This is the ultimate boom or bust draft for the Bengals. They probably drafted more pure, athletic talent than any team in the division, which could turn out to be all that matters. But players like Smith and Johnson will need to be constantly monitored, and there has to be some reason every team passed on USC linebacker Rey Maualuga as well. Perhaps many general managers felt he was overrated, which remains to be seen.
Overall, these draft picks have the potential to either lead to Cincinnati's resurgence or add to its recurring problems.
We could go into the fact that Walker has never looked favorable to Andre Smith and I can't recall an article in which Walker actually just talks about Smith's play on the field. Thus he thrives on making the Bengals much more controversial than they really are. The fact he allows that the Bengals drafted the most "athletic talent" and could lead to "Cincinnati's resurgence" is shocking.
Walker then questioned if the Bengals waited too long for a center.
Adam Caplan says that Rey Maualuga is one of the best value picks in the draft.
The fact that he dropped so far might be due in part that scouts saw him as a two-down linebacker. This was a common complaint in regard to high-touted LBs such as Dan Connor and Paul Posluszny in recent drafts and why they fell farther than expected . However, a source notes Posluszny wound up playing in over 97 percent of the defensive snaps last season for the Buffalo Bills.
Maualuga will bring a certain level of badly needed physicality to the Bengal defense next season.
Then Cedric Golden went on to simply point out the Bengals selections
Much maligned Cincinnati brass men Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis have taken plenty of criticism for bringing in players with character issues, but the Bengal nation lauded them for promising to clean up that locker room.
So what did the new-look Bengals do with their first two picks? They took Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith in the first round, then selected Southern Cal linebacker Rey Maualuga in the second.
Tide coach Nick Saban suspended Smith for the Sugar Bowl for improper contact with an agent, then the kid showed up out of shape for the NFL rookie combine and didn't work out. Then he left.
Maualuga was arrested in college on suspicion of battery, and USC coach Pete Carroll benched him one game for his conduct at a party. YouTube viewers have seen his clip, co-starring unsuspecting ESPN reporter Erin Andrews.
Who knows? Maybe the two will each play for 10 years and make All-Pro teams, but you would think the Bengals brain trust would be trying to steer clear of players who have checkered pasts.
Golden's arguments are weak. Very weak. And he uses Maualuga's mini-grinding session with ESPN's Erin Andrews as an example. Note to Cedric Golden: Andrews is hot. Your arguments against both of these players are not.
Chick Ludwig says that Michael Johnson is a steal, happily waves good bye to Kyle Larson, and grades the team's first seven picks with an "A+", saying the Bengals are headed in the right direction.
Joe Reedy says that this draft has the chance to be one of Marvin Lewis' best. Reedy also grades the Bengals with the best draft in the AFC North. Good man.
Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald struggled waiting through the second day.
"When the clock was counting down for the Bengals (to pick), that's when I got the call from coach (Lewis) and he said, `Are you ready to be a Bengal?' '' McDonald said. "I said `Yes, sir.' It was a hard wait.''
Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino on center Jonathan Luigs:
"Jonathan will play a long time on the next level," Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino said. "He is flexible enough to stay healthy. He is very, very smart. He will know what to do and will immediately pick up the offense. He has the physical tools to do it."
“I thought I’d be gone on Saturday, but you play the cards you’re dealt,” Johnson said by phone from his home in Selma, Ala. “I look forward to going in there and proving myself. I’m going to go earn my money.”
“The negatives, to me, any complain that anyone might have is what I’m going to focus on more now until it becomes a strength,” Johnson said. “I look forward to the opportunity and I’m ready. I’m so ready.”
On playing with Eric Henderson:
“I’m looking forward to going up there and learning from him the same way I did when I came to Tech.”