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Mel Kiper was a huge fan of the Bengals draft

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Many Bengals fans weren’t excited by Cincinnati’s haul, but Mel Kiper thinks there is reason for optimism.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Draft Pick Press Conference Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NE

The Bengals 2019 draft is over, and Zac Taylor’s first set of rookies is set.

However, some frustrations have seem to boiled over from the draft with fans upset over the Bengals’ haul. It is true that the Bengals had some picks that were shocking, but there is still some overreaction taking place. After all, none of these guys have even stepped on the field yet.

One draft expert really did love how the Bengals draft set out. ESPN’s Mel Kiper gave the Bengals one of the highest grades of any team this year. Here is some of what he had to say in regard to the Bengals 2019 class:

Grade A-

This is not a sexy class, but it’s solid throughout. Jonah Williams (No. 11) is a no-brainer immediate starter, either at guard or tackle. Germaine Pratt (No. 72) is a converted safety who will likely end up at outside linebacker in Cincy’s 4-3. The versatility makes it good value. I didn’t love Ryan Finley’s tape as much as Todd McShay -- he gave Finley a second-round grade -- but Andy Dalton shouldn’t be locked in long term, so this is another option for Taylor if Dalton underwhelms. To get Finley at No. 104 is solid.

Drew Sample (No. 52) is a really good blocking tight end, but even he didn’t expect to go in the second round. That was high with more complete tight ends available. Renell Wren (No. 125) had an up-and-down career for the Sun Devils, but he impressed at the Senior Bowl and has some intriguing athletic traits. I’m intrigued by the Day 3 running backs with Trayveon Williams (No. 182) and Rodney Anderson (No. 211). Anderson is one of the most talented backs in the class, but he simply couldn’t stay on the field. Williams is going to help spell Joe Mixon in the receiving game. Jordan Brown (No. 223) is a good corner for the seventh round.

Kiper hits the nail on the head with this not being a sexy draft class. The Bengals passed up flashier players like quarterback Dwayne Haskins or a pass rusher at no. 11 to address their struggling offensive line.

Cincinnati feels like they got a future left tackle, which some experts disagree with, but at worst they probably have a career right tackle or guard, which is still something the Bengals desperately needed.

There is no question though that how you feel about this draft coincides directly with your feelings about the Bengals passing on Haskins at No. 11, seemingly reaching for tight end Drew Sample and their three fourth round picks in general. How those three areas play out going forward will make or break this draft.

The only team to get a higher grade than the Bengals were the Colts, who really did crush the draft themselves by completely laying down a foundation for their defense going forward.

Three other teams received an A- including the Patriots, Browns and Washington. Obviously, anytime your team is being mentioned in the same breath as New England as far as draft accomplishments it is a good things.

It is interesting to see Cleveland included as well. They are the other team in the AFC North with an emerging young nucleus, and depending on how Andy Dalton plays under Taylor, these two teams could be competing for the AFC North for awhile.

It is pretty hard to grade a draft right after it happens though. Sure, we could try and determine who reached for what players based off months of mock drafts and arbitrary values, but what really matters is how these players develop.

If these guys aren’t on the team in four years, then it is hard to be proud of an A- grade days after the draft has completed.