The Cincinnati Bengals just wrapped up a massive draft for the team, in which they added 11 talented players to the roster.
Some draft analysts believe the Bengals’ class is among the best, while others don’t seem to share that opinion.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper went through and graded all 32 draft classes, and gave the Bengals a B- for their group of 11 players. That’s a very middle the road grade, and a bit biased as it comes with the opinion that John Ross wasn’t worthy of a top 10 pick, Joe Mixon is a risk and Carl Lawson is an injury concern. He also goes on to refer to Jordan Evans as Jordan Hall, so maybe Kiper’s had a long weekend (like the rest of us) and isn’t thinking too clearly in handing out his grades.
The teams graded higher than Cincinnati are the Chargers, Patriots, Bills, 49ers, Buccaneers, Broncos, Packers, Vikings, Jets, Steelers, Eagles, Redskins, Cardinals, Ravens, Browns, Colts, Saints and Titans.
Here’s what Kiper had to say about the Bengals’ draft class.
Cincinnati Bengals: B-
Top needs: Wide receiver, defensive line, offensive line
Risk seemed to define the early portion of this class. It's not at all a surprise that the Bengals -- who have drafted exceptionally well in recent years -- would want to grab another wide receiver for Andy Dalton. After losing both Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones in free agency last year, they drafted Tyler Boyd in Round 2, but the distance between A.J. Green and the rest of the receivers here is still notable. I was just a bit surprised they went with John Ross at No. 9 overall. Maybe they wanted Corey Davis (No. 5 overall) or Mike Williams (No. 7) and just decided they better get Ross. Still, Ross has a smaller frame, is coming off shoulder surgery and has missed a chunk of time with an ACL tear. That's a lot of risk for a top-10 pick.
Then there is Joe Mixon. The guy is a major talent, but again, to take him in Round 2 is to say you're quite comfortable with his decision-making -- on and off the field -- going forward. Two picks, two talented players, but plenty of risk. After that, the Bengals added some interesting potential.
Jordan Willis had 26.0 sacks and 40.5 tackles for loss, and the workout numbers to match those totals, so to get him at No. 73 overall looks like a great value. Carl Lawson is also a really talented player but brings an injury history of his own. The Ryan Glasgow selection goes along pretty well with my ranks; my No. 150 overall player taken at No. 138. He has a chance to be a useful contributor along the D-line.
Another interesting selection was Jordan Hall, as the Bengals have a need at inside linebacker. Josh Malone offers length and depth at wide receiver. Ultimately, the talent here could win out over the risk, but this draft hinges on whether Ross stays healthy and Mixon lives up to his promise to stay out of the kind of situations that made him such a controversial selection.
A grade of B- isn’t great, but, it’s not terrible either. It would be awesome to see the Bengals prove Kiper wrong and have the majority of these 11 picks come out as successful NFL players who help to revamp the roster.