Before the NFL Draft, I scoured the most popular sites that rank the prospects before the draft, such as NFL.com, CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, and others. From these pre-draft rankings, I compiled a composite ranking for each of the prospects based on their combined rankings from each of the various sites.
Based on this list, we can assess each Bengals draft pick and determine if they were a good value, no value, or a bad value based on where they were ranked compared to where they were picked.
William Jackson III: +0
Selected 24 overall
Pre-Draft ranked 24 overall
William Jackson represents a solid pick, drafted at 24 overall, which is exactly where the pre-draft composite rankings had him listed. He was the fourth highest rated defensive back, between Eli Apple and Mackensie Alexander.
Tyler Boyd: +13
Selected 55 overall
Pre-Draft ranked 42 overall
Boyd represents a good value, being selected 13 spots after his composite ranking. Before the draft, he was ranked as the fifth best wide receiver, tied with Sterling Shepard, and just above Michael Thomas
Nick Vigil: -82
Selected 87 overall
Pre-Draft ranked 169 overall
Vigil represents a horrible value based on the composite rankings of the most popular prospect ranking websites. He was the 21st ranked linebacker overall, and eighth-ranked inside linebacker. The former Utah State Aggie was ranked quite low on all of the major sites across the internet.
Andrew Billings: +91
Selected 122 overall
Pre-Draft ranked 31 overall
Andrew Billings represents a huge value for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was ranked as the sixth-best defensive tackle, between Vernon Butler and Kenny Clark, and at 31 overall, would have been a first round pick based on the composite rankings.
Christian Westerman: +110
Selected 161 overall
Pre-Draft ranked 51 overall
Westerman represents another huge value for the Bengals. Before the draft, his composite ranking was ninth among all offensive linemen, and fourth among interior offensive linemen.
Cody Core & Clayton Fejedelem: N/A
Selected 199 and 245 overall
Pre-Draft ranked N/A
Once you get far enough down the draft into the late round group of projects and fliers, it’s more difficult to that everybody is willing to rank the lower end of the prospects. Because of the inconsistency of who was ranking these two prospects, and who was not, I do not have an overall pre-draft ranking for either Core or Fejedelem.
The Bengals first five picks represent a value of +132 compared to the general consensus of how they were ranked by various prospect evaluators. This means that their picks were selected 132 spots after their ranking. That works out to an average value of +26.4 per pick, which is almost one full round better than where they were expected to be drafted.
After the first three rounds, the Bengals’ overall value grade was a negative 69, dragged down by the selection of Nick Vigil. But the perceived draft steals of Andrew Billings and Christian Westerman erased that deficit and boosted their overall value grade to a whopping +132.
What do you think? Did the Bengals' draft picks represent a good value, were they right in line with where they should have been selected, or did the team reach too much?