Pro Football Focus is widely respected for the work they do evaluating players.
They are the biggest outlet that specializes in finding stats that go beyond the typical box score fans are accustomed to. They deserve a lot of respect for bringing metric grading into the mainstream.
So, it should come as no surprise that plenty of people respect their opinions on what they have to say about evaluating a team’s draft class.
Recently, PFF talked about how the Bengals did in the draft, and it ended up really being a mixed bag.
Analysts Steve Palazzolo and Sam Monson really seemed to have a hard time finding a beat on whether the Bengals draft was good or not. They had this to say about the Billy Price pick:
Moving on from veteran Russell Bodine, the Bengals selected former Ohio State center Billy Price with the No. 21 overall pick, an immediate upgrade and potentially long-term starter at the position. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Price, similarly to Philadelphia Eagles’ Jason Kelce, is a true road grader in the run game, as evidenced by his sixth-ranked run-block success percentage (92.0) in 2017. He also earned 83.9-plus run-block grades in each of his final two seasons with the Buckeyes.
Palazzolo also mentions the possibility of this being a panic pick after the Lions selected Frank Ragnow one pick before the Bengals. Ragnow was considered to be the top center in the draft, but it seems like the Bengals were content to take Price no matter what. Also it seems like the Bengals had a feeling Price wouldn’t be around if they waited until their second-round pick, something that was confirmed to them after the draft.
Overall, the two decide that when you couple Bodine being an upgrade over Russell Bodine and the Bengals also acquiring a left tackle in Cordy Glenn by moving back to that selection that the Bengals made the right move.
It is hard to say PFF didn’t like the Bengals draft. In fact, it seemed like they really liked a lot of their picks, but they also note that most of the picks have a huge flaw that needs to be dealt with.
For instance, they love how the safety Jessie Bates III can match up with receivers one-on-one, but he missed 16 tackles last season at Wake Forest. They think we have just scratched the surface from what the linebacker Malik Jefferson can be, but there are still serious concerns about his awareness on the field.
They were baffled by the defensive end Sam Hubbard’s athletic scores before the draft, but even if that doesn’t translate, he is a very technically sound player.
Palazzolo and Monson also think the Bengals got a few gems on Day 3 with the corner Darius Phillips, quarterback Logan Woodside, receiver Auden Tate and running back Mark Walton.
It feels like Tate and Woodside could be destined for the practice squad given the depth at both of their positions. Walton should step into the running back rotation right away. No one should be surprised when he gets around 10 snaps a game his rookie season.
Phillips will be heavily involved in the battle for kick and punt return duties after scoring five times on special teams in college. He may even end up being a valuable depth corner down the road.
PFF also mentioned something that a lot of fans and media have forgotten this offseason. The roster of this team is coming together very nicely. It isn’t perfect by any means, but the biggest thing the Bengals had to do was bring some stability to the offensive line that held them back last season. They managed to do that while adding some quality depth and rotational players across the board.