Meanwhile, there was another team in Ohio that participated in the NFL Draft last week. In all the hoo-hah over the Cleveland Browns and their follow-the-bouncing-draft-pick act in the first round on the way to reeling in spotlight grabber Johnny Manziel, the Cincinnati Bengals’ draft didn’t get a whole lot of attention.
But it appears the Bengals put together a solid draft. ESPN draft maven Mel Kiper gave Cincinnati a B. ESPN.com’s Coley Harvey says you could make the case that the Bengals may even deserve a bit higher. “If you instead choose to view the Bengals' draft through the lens of addressing team needs,” Harvey writes, “they probably deserve a ‘B-plus’ and could even make their own case for a fringe ‘A-minus.’"
To start with, the Bengals needed a cornerback, and they got one in the first round, Darqueze Dennard from Michigan State, who had been slotted in some mock drafts to go higher than Cincinnati’s No. 24 and had been rated by some observers as the best corner coming out this year.
The Bengals’ most attention-grabbing pick was in the fifth round, when they took Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who was supposed to go much higher in the draft, according to the AJ McCarron Scouting Service. Though a QB taken in the fifth round isn’t supposed to put any pressure on an incumbent, the combination of fan dissatisfaction with Andy Dalton’s inconsistency — particularly his playoff failures — and the arrival of a rookie lots of people watched on TV almost every Saturday means Dalton may well feel the heat.
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In Jeremy Hill, a 235-pound running back from LSU, Cincinnati picked up someone in Round 2 who can combine with BenJarvus Green-Ellis to provide the inside rushing to go with Giovani Bernard’s astronaut threat (as in, get him the ball in space).
And, as Harvey writes, getting center Russell Bodine from North Carolina in the fourth round is an indication, along with Hill’s selection, that the Bengals want to make power running part of their attack.