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NFL Power Rankings Roundup: Bengals climb after Draft

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Where do you think the Bengals should be ranked? They're as high as third and as low as 10th in the most recent roundup of power rankings across the internet.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL draft having come and gone, we're one step closer to the 2016 NFL season beginning.

For now, many of the major sports websites are putting out new NFL Power Rankings. For most of the offseason, Cincinnati has been sitting in the 9-14 range due in large part to their offseason defections.

But while losing Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and Reggie Nelson hurts, you could argue adding Will Jackson, Tyler Boyd, Andrew Billings and the rest of their draft class was enough to overcome said losses. That's why many of the newest rankings have the Bengals firmly inside the top 10.

Aaron Tan of Sports Blog was really high on what the Bengals did in the draft, which led to them being ranked eighth overall:

8. Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals struck it out of the park with their draft this year, having a nice balance between offense and defense in their selections. Their first two rounds were simply incredible, getting William Jackson III, one of the best corners in the draft, and then Tyler Boyd, a receiver that I fell in love with while watching his tape. Then later, in the fourth round, they got an absolute steal, defensive tackle Andrew Billings, who had first round potential. This is a guy who can start right away, and should upgrade their already amazing defensive line. Great draft for Cincinnati.

Of course, CBS Sports' Pete Prisco is as high as ever on the Bengals, who he ranked third overall.

3. This is a deep, talented team that had another nice draft. They just have to stay healthy.

NFL.com's Elliot Harrison is not as high on the Bengals' draft, which led to them coming in at the 10th spot.

Mixed reviews on Cincy's draft haul. Former Ravens defensive end Chris Canty, my cohort on "NFL HQ" on Monday, liked what the Bengals did. My concern was that they were not able to get one of the first-round wide receivers. That said, I met Tyler Boyd a month ago and can tell you that guy is not lacking in confidence. If he can be as prolific a pass catcher as he was at Pitt, Cincy found itself a WR2 better than Mohamed Sanu or Marvin Jones.

Over at USA Today Sports, Cincinnati comes in at the ninth spot.

9. Bengals: Turnover at WR was inevitable given the free agent market. Yet the real issue for the Bengals is whether they can compose themselves after a playoff unraveling.

Bleacher Report's Brent Sobleski has Cincinnati coming in at fifth overall.

The Bengals once again lost in the first round of the playoffs. Afterward, the team suffered a mass exodus of talent in free agency. Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Reggie Nelson and Andre Smith combined to start 160 games over the last four seasons before leaving the organization.

Meanwhile, the only significant return in free agency came when the Cleveland Browns released veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby—he quickly signed with the Bengals. Dansby is a perfect complement to Vontaze Burfict and Rey Maualuga, because he's one of the league's best coverage linebackers and provides a strong veteran presence in the locker room.

Fortunately for the Bengals, the organization has become adept at replacing talent.

Draft Picks: William Jackson III, Tyler Boyd, Nick Vigil, Andrew Billings, Christian Westerman, Cody Core, Clayton Fejedelem

Analysis: In what's become an annual tradition, the Bengals killed the draft. Team president Mike Brown and company stand pat, let the talent come to them and usually find value in every round.

The organization did so again this year.

William Jackson III might not be an immediate starter with Darqueze Dennard and Dre Kirkpatrick already in place, but the Houston product led major college football last season with 28 passes defended. Tyler Boyd should step in and fill the void created by the departures of Jones and Sanu. And fourth-round defensive tackle Andrew Billings could prove to be the steal of the draft after being projected as a first-round talent.

Four or five starters should eventually emerge out of this class.

At this point, I think the Bengals are one of the six or seven best teams in the NFL when everyone is healthy and not suspended. The bad thing is we won't see that to start 2016 as Vontaze Burfict serves a three-game suspension, but new guys like Karlos Dansby and Nick Vigil should help offset that loss.

The real question is going to be if Andy Dalton, Tyler Eifert and A.J. Green stay healthy. We saw what happened in 2014 and down the stretch last year when one or more of those guys is out of the lineup.

The same was true in 2014 for the defense when Burfict was out of the lineup. Prisco said it best by ranking the Bengals as high as he did, but being careful to note how injuries can and already have quickly derailed this team.

Where do you think the Bengals should be ranked?