Having success in the playoffs has been a problem for the Bengals. Having success in recent drafts has not.
The Ravens hope to dethrone the Bengals as AFC North champs next season. But that will not be easy, thanks in large part to how well the Bengals have drafted recently. Over the last four years, no AFC North team has drafted more impact players than the Bengals.
Some of their picks include:
First round – TE Tyler Eifert
Second round – RB Giovani Bernard
First round – CB Dre Kirkpatrick
Second round – G Kevin Zeitler
Third round – WR Mohamed Sanu
Third round – DT Brandon Thompson
Fourth round – WR Marvin Jones
RELATED: [Let the (draft) games begin]
First round – WR A. J. Green
Second round – QB Andy Dalton
2010 First round – TE Jermaine Gresham
Second round – DE Carlos Dunlap
Fourth round – DT Geno Atkins
Those four drafts form the nucleus of the current Bengals, who are positioned to continue winning. A lot will depend on whether Dalton proves capable of leading them to the next level. But the Bengals, who have made the playoffs the past three seasons, have compiled an impressive roster of young talent.
Meanwhile, the Ravens are just one year removed from winning a Super Bowl, but the jury is still out on some of their recent draft picks like linebacker Arthur Brown, defensive tackle Brandon Williams, and center Gino Gradkowski, while three players from their 2010 draft may be leaving in free agency – defensive tackle Terrence Cody, tight end Ed Dickson, and defensive lineman Arthur Jones.
The Bengals have built a strong young nucleus. The Ravens need to start building a stronger one in this year’s draft.