It's pretty much unanimous at this point: the Cincinnati Bengals were big winners during last weekend's draft process. They were able to get good value out of their picks and drafted players for immediate and future needs. It's hard to not get some good picks when you have ten chances to make some hay, but with nearly every choice that the Bengals made, they seemingly struck gold.
Add Yahoo! Sports to the list of those commending the Bengals front office. In a recently-released piece from Jason Cole, he reviews all of the AFC teams' draft hauls.
For the Bengals, Cole says:
Analysis: For the first time in a long time, the Bengals seemed to put a little emphasis on high character as the first four picks on this board all came with high grades in that respect. Kirkpatrick is tough and plays hard all the time. He genuinely loves the game. Same goes for Zeitler, Still and Sanu, who could be the best value of the first three rounds. Sanu is still developing as a receiver, but he could become an overwhelming talent. If there is one thing the Bengals do well in the second, third and later rounds, it's find good wide receivers.
It's kind of nice to see one major media outlet give the team credit for picking some high-character guys, instead of choosing to focus on guys they took late flyers on in fourth-rounder Orson Charles or the undrafted Vontaze Burfict. Cole gives the Bengals an "A", which is the best in the AFC North division and tied for the best in the entire conference with the New England Patriots.
Cole gave the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns both a "C+", while giving the Pittsburgh Steelers a "B+". So far, it looks as if the Bengals have built a strong roster for the future via free agency and now the draft.