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Bengals 21 Century Draft Class Tournament: Round Two - #3 (2006) vs #6 (2012)

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Whitworth vs Zeitler. Kirkpatrick vs Joseph. Peko and Rucker vs Still and Thompson. Kilmer and Brazell vs Jones and Sanu. The #3 and #6 seeds feature a lot of the same positions in this second round showdown.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the first Bengals Draft Class Tournament. We have taken the past 16 Bengals draft classes and seeded them one through 16. Consider this our version of March Madness! The tournament will continue until the readers of Cincy Jungle have crowned a winner of the best Bengals draft class of the 21st century. Check out the first round winners and all the details here!

The 2006 and 2012 draft classes have advanced to round two and, amazingly, these two draft classes feature two teams cut from the same cloth. In both drafts the Bengals followed very similar trends with which positions they drafted in which rounds. The question is which result was superior.

Round 1 of each draft featured a cornerback, the battle here is between Dre Kirkpatrick and Jonathan Joseph. Round 2 has an offensive line showdown between Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler The next few picks include Frostee Rucker and Domata Peko vs Devon Still and Brandon Thompson. And both drafts have a mid-late selections doubling up on receivers, with Ethan Kilmer and Bennie Brazell vs Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu.

Bengals 21st Century Draft Tournament

Round 2

#3 - 2006 Draft Class

Year

Rnd

Pick

Pos

To

AP1

PB

St

G

College/Univ

2006

1

24

Johnathan Joseph

DB

2015

0

2

9

143

South Carolina

2006

2

55

Andrew Whitworth

T

2015

1

2

9

152

LSU

2006

3

91

Frostee Rucker

DE

2015

0

0

3

113

USC

2006

4

123

Domata Peko

DT

2015

0

0

9

155

Michigan St.

2006

5

157

A.J. Nicholson

LB

2006

0

0

0

2

Florida St.

2006

6

193

Reggie McNeal

QB

2006

0

0

0

7

Texas A&M

2006

7

209

Ethan Kilmer

WR

2006

0

0

0

16

Penn St.

2006

7

231

Bennie Brazell

WR

0

0

0

LSU

Why the 2006 draft class should advance:

The 2006 draft class produced three pretty good, long-tenured NFL starters. First round pick Johnathan Joseph, taken 26th overall, is second in the 2006 draft class with 26 interceptions. He is only behind higher drafted Antonio Cromartie, but J.Jo dwarfs him with more than 100 additional career tackles. Teamed with Leon Hall, Joseph helped form a great cornerback tandem in Cincinnati for five seasons before greener pastures filled with bottles of free Gatorade lured him to Texas. Joseph is also a two time Pro Bowl selection.

Coming off their first playoff appearance in what seemed like forever, the Bengals entered the 2006 draft without a slew of pressing needs. There were some needs, but not like years past where every position was screaming for an upgrade. Due to this, the Bengals had the luxury of drafting a "best player available" selection. This was new territory for the Bengals, who used their second round selection on left tackle Andrew Whitworth. The Bengals already had a pretty good left tackle with Levi Jones, but the Whitworth pick has proven to be a great one. After beginning his career as a left guard, Big Whit moved over to left tackle, where he has been one of the most effective pass protectors in the NFL. He has finally been recognized for his play with a recent All Pro selection, and a pair of overdue Pro Bowl nominations.

Taken late in the fourth round, Domata Peko has cranked out nine solid years as a plug in the middle of the Bengals’ defensive line. While not "elite", Peko has been a dependable piece of the defensive line both on the field, and off. And what’s not to like with his Gangnam Style sack dance?

That’s three long-tenured, productive NFL starters despite having late picks in each round. Looking back a decade later, that’s not a bad haul – not at all.

Why the 2006 draft class should not advance:

Frostee Rucker. A.J. Nicholson. Ethan Kilmer. Granted they were mid-round selections, but for a team who needed help on defense, one could have hoped for a little more production, or longevity they these picks produced.

Perhaps the sniff of success in 2005 filled the Bengals’ leadership with a thought that they could accomplish anything? That’s one explanation for their pair of late round projects in Reggie McNeal and Bennie Brazell. Much like SETI, the projects were interesting, but failed to produce any results.

#6 - 2012 Draft Class

Rnd

Pick

Pos

To

AP1

PB

St

G

College/Univ

1

17

Dre Kirkpatrick

DB

2015

0

0

1

51

Alabama

1

27

Kevin Zeitler

G

2015

0

0

4

56

Wisconsin

2

53

Devon Still

DT

2014

0

0

0

30

Penn St.

3

83

Mohamed Sanu

WR

2015

0

0

2

57

Rutgers

3

93

Brandon Thompson

DT

2015

0

0

0

39

Clemson

4

116

Orson Charles

TE

2014

0

0

0

29

Georgia

5

156

Shaun Prater

DB

2015

0

0

0

21

Iowa

5

166

Marvin Jones

WR

2015

0

0

1

43

California

5

167

George Iloka

DB

2015

0

0

3

51

Boise St.

6

191

Dan Herron

RB

2015

0

0

0

35

Ohio St.

Why the 2012 draft class should advance:

Because the Bengals gained a plethora of players. Thanks to the Carson Palmer trade, and a draft day trade down, the Bengals walked away with ten picks, including a pair of first rounds picks. Not only did they add many players, but each player made the team, one way or another.

The Bengals came away with four starters from that draft. That’s pretty good. Dre Kirkpatrick is the future at cornerback for the Bengals, and Kevin Zeitler looks to be a fixture at right guard for quite a while. Marvin Jones emerged as a good second option to A.J. Green, while George Iloka has developed as a very good safety. As a testament to their great play, both Jones and Iloka were heavily sought in free agency this month.

Many of the Bengals’ drafts are top-heavy with very good selections early on, followed up by unproductive players in the final rounds. But some of the best drafting in the 2012 draft by the Bengals may have come at the end of the draft. They gained a very good second receiver in Marvin Jones in the fifth round, and well as a very good safety, George Iloka. To get a pair of very good starters in round five is quite an awesome feat to pull off.

Devon Still. Not only did his inclusion on the team give us a heart-warming human interest story for the 2014 NFL season, but it showed the nation that Mike Brown was not a cold-hearted, penny pinching Scrooge, which many may have viewed him as, due to the Bengals lackluster pursuits in free agency, and willingness to play hard ball with unsigned draft picks.

Ohio is Big Ten country, and the Bengals filled this draft class with five selections from the current Big Ten, including three of their top four picks. So if you like the Big Ten, this draft’s for you. Wisconsin, Penn St, Rutgers (who were not Big Ten members in 2012), Iowa, and of course Ohio St are all represented here.

Why the 2012 draft class should not advance:

Seriously, ten picks, and we only got one starter for the 2012 season. Blind monkeys throwing darts at the "big board" could probably do that, unless the monkeys worked for the Cleveland Browns. But the Browns have shown they are inept enough at drafting without needing to throw monkeys into the mix, so I don’t foresee that happening.

The Bengals first, first round pick sat on the bench for four years before he became a starter. And he was sitting behind an old (Newman) cornerback, and injured (Hall) cornerback, and a bounced around the league (Jones) cornerback. A guy taken 17th overall should be able to crack the starting roster a little faster than it took for the Allies to crack the German Enigma machine.

Devon Still in the second round and Brandon Thompson in round three turned out to be lousy values. Still had half a sack for his career, and was cut before his rookie contract ran out. Thompson was a deep backup, and only fared slightly better than Still. With two picks, the Bengals still missed on productive starters like Mike Daniels and Malik Jackson, who just signed for highly lucrative deals in free agency.

This draft will always be tied to the career of Steelers’ offensive lineman David DeCastro, who many Bengals’ fans desperately wanted in Cincy. Not only did the Bengals pass on him with their first pick at #17 overall, but passed on him at #21 by trading down with the Patriots, who selected Chandler Jones. Yes, the Chandler Jones who leads the entire 2012 draft with 36 sacks. He could have been a useful player for the Bengals. Only time will tell if passing on DeCastro twice for Zeitler was prudent or foolish.

Another failure here was the Bengals drafting Orson Charles in the fourth round to move him to a position he had never played. The Bengals don’t seem to have a lot of success when they draft a player and then change their position. Hard Knocks gave us all a taste of how much Charles struggled at fullback, and the Bengals’ insistence to keep him there.