Mel Kiper Jr. promoted three Bengals players on his 2012 All-Rookie team, naming guard Kevin Zeitler, center Trevor Robinson and linebacker Vontaze Burfict to his impressive squad. As we stand applauding each deserved recognition for their contributions (not that anyone waits anxiously for Kiper's list), it develops an exciting prospect when considering Cincinnati's future is filled with so much young and developing talent.
Using a slight different system than Kiper's seeing-eye test, Pro Football Focus released their own All-Rookie team using their grades an final judgment. They named two of those things rookies, both on offense.
The right guard position was easily filled by Zeitler, who ranked as our 12th-best guard on his way to surrendering only 15 pressures all season.
On our Mid-Season Rookie Team we were unable to include a center as no first-year players had taken any significant snaps at the time. Luckily Trevor Robinson entered the mix as part of the revolving door at center for the Bengals. He held his own during their stretch run on one of the league’s best offensive lines.
Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner (+16.0) took the middle with Buccaneers linebacker David Lavonte (+10.0) and Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower (+7.5) taking the outside. Not even Cincinnati native Luke Kuechly made the list, though he was an honorable mention. Based on their grading system, Burfict scored a -1.4 with pass coverage and penalties accounting for -6.8 of his score. He was the fifth-best run defender on the team behind Geno Atkins, Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap and Terence Newman.