Football Gameplan recently went through and graded the Bengals draft class pick by pick. It was a pretty glowing review overall, as the Bengals received a B, which is hard not to get excited about as a fan.
The things that Emory Hunt Jr. of Football Gameplan liked about the draft make a lot of sense. He was a huge fan of the Billy Price pick, which he grades out to barely be a potential Pro Bowler with a grade of 80. That makes a lot of sense, but what is interesting is the only other player with a grade of at least 80 was running back Mark Walton, who the Bengals chose in the fourth round.
Hunt compared Walton to Kareem Hunt of the Chiefs and even said he graded him higher than Joe Mixon last year. That is pretty incredible praise for a running back who is looking like he could be a situational-type player for the Bengals in the upcoming season. This is a really good sign for the depth at running back going into the future.
Hunt graded out five of the Bengals 11 draft picks as “solid starters” with a grade of at least 70. He also had three more graded at 69 or 69.5, which means despite not making a huge splash that the Bengals potentially got a foundation starter in this year’s draft.
Surprisingly, one of the picks he hated was the defensive end Sam Hubbard in the third round. There is doubt out there about Hubbard, but he was supposed to be a second round pick who slid to the third, which ended up being some pretty good value for the Bengals.
Ultimately, he will be competing with Jordan Willis for the next few seasons at the right end position. Both young players also have the ability to kick inside during pass rushing situations, which is some pretty nice versatility to have.
Hunt also thinks Malik Jefferson has the talent to be an instant starter. He could have a role early on where he is asked to simply blitz, spy the quarterback or play man coverage on someone and be productive He isn’t an instant starter though. Having him develop and learn for a season or two could go a long way.
Lastly, Hunt blasts the idea that Quinton Flowers isn’t being considered a quarterback. He was super productive, but 5-foot-10-inch quarterbacks have a hard time sticking around in the NFL, and while Flowers is listed as a running back, the Bengals may as well hit him with the offensive weapon indication as he will be moved around a ton. Flowers will be given every opportunity to be put in the open field, which is where he does his most damage. It is shocking that he was given a 75.5 grade as a quarterback.
Hunt is also high on Trayvon Henderson, the safety out of Hawaii, who he graded at 74 overall. He should be a name we keep an eye on as the Bengals seem to be gearing up to change the their safety position. The depth at that spot was troublesome at times last season.
Overall Hunt’s grade is hard to argue with, but when including the Cordy Glenn trade, which was based around the Bengals moving back in the first round, then it is hard to not give the team a better grade. They got a starting left tackle in a draft where there pretty much wasn’t one available.