As we transition ourselves out of the NFL Draft, waving goodbye to the annual obsessionists revealed convention, I asked Dan of Mocking the Draft to swing by to give us a few impressions of Cincinnati's draft. I was interested in the individual players. Such as moving Rey Maualuga to outside linebacker, or learning about Michael Johnson among other things. Like Daze and Confused, this is the part of the movie where we pan out with Tuesday's Gone playing in the background.
The Bengals were in position to take several players that fell to them, stealing them if you will, based on early projections. Who do you think was the best value pick by the Bengals?
Dan: "For me, it's getting Rey Maualuga. Coffman was a great value, but tight ends overall were dropping. Maualuga has his issues -- how well he can work in space, minor character concerns -- but he's a great player and can give the Bengals an identity defensively."
Who was the most questionable pick based on talent and on-field performances?
Dan: "It's hard to pinpoint on a Bengals pick in the first five rounds that was a bad choice. They really, really cleaned up. I also love the Fui Vakapuna pick in the seventh round. He's very fast for a fullback. But to answer the question, I guess I'd have to say Morgan Trent. He never did anything at Michigan that made him look like a potential pro."
As it stands, linebacker Rey Maualuga will begin his Cincinnati career behind Dhani Jones on the depth chart. However, based on what you're seen and scouted, could Maualuga make the transition to strong-side outside linebacker?
Dan: "Absolutely. He didn't have to rush the passer all that much at Southern California but shows the straight-line playing speed to do so. He's also really good at shedding blockers and can get upfield quickly."
What can you tell us about Memphis defensive tackle Clinton McDonald?
Dan: "Not a whole lot. I didn't see a lot of Memphis last season. I do know McDonald is a gap-shooting defensive tackle. He's not a big fattie who takes up blockers. He's the kind of guy who will get after the passer. He had seven sacks last year, which is pretty impressive for an interior lineman. He seems like a situational, nickel-down tackle."
Georgia Tech Defensive End Michael Johnson was rated as high as a mid-first round selection in some mock drafts. What about Johnson should we expect and will he be classified as a quarterback-rushing specialist?
Dan: "For now, I'd say he'll start his career as a pass-rush specialist. It's all about getting Johnson motivated to play hard every game. He had a lot of very good games in 2008 but just as many bad ones. There's just so much to work with in a player like Johnson. He's big, strong and athletic. In the hands of Marvin Lewis, that could be dangerous.
But that kind of leads me to the biggest problem with Cincinnati's draft. Can Lewis manage to motivate Johnson, Andre Smith, Chase Coffman and Maualuga every game? Johnson and Smith had questionable effort coming into the draft. Coffman has to be motivated to block better. Maualuga has to be made more disciplined.
So like I said during one the open threads at Mocking the Draft, this is the draft that will absolutely make or break Marvin Lewis. I think they should have maybe taken a better wide receiver than Freddie Brown, but that's a minor quibble."