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Mel Kiper Jr. Regrades The 2012 NFL Draft

Nearly a year after the 2012 NFL draft, Mel Kiper Jr. regrades the draft.

Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Providing post-draft grades hours following the NFL draft usually applies needs compared to the grader's final perspective on the players that were drafted, grouping the selections that generates the team grade.

Many weigh those grades heavily for post-draft discussions and others disregard them entirely; players are graded for predraft analysis, not so much a projected composition of a player's career with the team that he was drafted by -- those grades come later.

That being said draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. (the guy that most other draft experts hate), gave Cincinnati a "A-" postdraft grade (In$ider). A year later, he's lowered that to a solid "B".

Before you start slamming me in the comments for a slightly lowered grade, know that by official decree of the Grading Ground Rules Committee, I can't include the best single rookie acquisition the Bengals made: when they signed Burfict as an undrafted free agent. Burfict was a Big Board regular last season and piled up 127 tackles, the most on the Bengals and good for 15th in the NFL.

As for the draft, in April I wrote, "The Bengals didn't hit any home runs in value, but as we sat on the set we'd nod to each other with every pick... They just crossed off needs, one pick after another." Dre Kirkpatrick was slowed by injuries and still has work to do to become a full-time starter, but he should get there. Kevin Zeitler turned out to be a great pick, playing guard at a Pro Bowl level. Orson Charles is a keeper as depth at tight end, while Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu combined for 34 catches, and one should be the Week 1 starter in 2013. Not a stellar draft in terms of immediate value, but with Zeitler, a pretty good one. And Burfict would still be considered a steal as a UFA if this is as good as he gets, but he has a chance to do much more given his talent and instincts for the position.

One of the interesting notes from Cincinnati's 2012 draft class is that every player stuck around in some capacity (IR, practice squad, active roster), currently on the offseason roster.