We’re going to give the 2008-2010 draft classes the usual treatment, that means every pick in that timeframe made by the Bengals will get a grade between +2.0 and -2.0 (in 0.5 increments) that depends upon:
• Where they were drafted
• Their performance
• Their contribution (how many snaps their team got out of them)
• Other factors such as unforeseen injuries and conditions that could not have been accounted for
Let’s take a look at how the Bengals drafted.
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
They’ll settle for Andy Dalton being the second-round equivalent.
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
Geno Atkins, DT (120th overall pick in 2010): How good was Atkins last year? Good enough to have our second-highest grade of all defensive tackles, thanks in large part to picking up more sacks, hits, and hurries combined (49) than any other DT. The former fourth-rounder flashed his ability as a rookie, but even considering that, it was surprising just how well he adapted to an every-down role. A true find.
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Carlos Dunlap, DE (54th overall pick in 2010): The only thing holding Dunlap back is that he’s spent most of his career as a situational pass rusher who backs up the starters on base downs. You wonder what he could do with more playing time as he turned 278 pass rushes into five sacks, 13 hits, and 29 hurries. That played a huge role in him garnering our fifth-highest grade of all 4-3 defensive ends.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Rey Maualuga, LB (38th overall pick in 2009): Found it harder moving back to his college middle linebacker spot than most envisioned, but two strong years as an early-downs run defender more than earn a positive grade for Maualuga. Will be hoping to recapture the form of 2010 while managing the extra responsibilities put on his plate.
Morgan Trent, CB (179th overall pick in 2009): 685 snaps on defense (where he didn’t embarrass himself) and some good work on special teams, means the Bengals got more out of this sixth-rounder than most do.
Bernard Scott, RB (209th overall pick in 2009): Still with the team, Scott had maintained a healthy yards per carry average until more was asked out of him last year. You wouldn’t want him carrying the load, but he’s proved a useful change-of-pace back with some special teams value though you doubt he’ll ever be anything more.
0.0: It could have been worse
Anthony Collins, T (112th overall pick in 2008): Wasn’t equipped to start as a rookie, and hasn’t really been given much of an opportunity to be a starter since. That’s something of a shame as filling in for others, Collins has played well (earning a +10.9 grade since 2009, but only managing 834 snaps).
Jason Shirley, DT (145th overall pick in 2008): The 29 career snaps don’t indicate just how interesting a Bengals career Shirley had. Spent a lot of his rookie year dealing with legal issues, was moved to offensive guard, and then eventually moved back to defensive tackle before being cut. A lot of effort for ultimately not very much.
Corey Lynch, S (177th overall pick in 2008): Missed his rookie year with a knee injury on injured reserve, before the Buccaneers stole him off the Bengals’ practice squad.
Matt Sherry, TE (207th overall pick in 2008): Another who spent his rookie year on injured reserve before the Bengals gave up on him a year later after waiving him injured and not opting to retain him.
Mario Urrutia, WR (246th overall pick in 2008): High on talent, low on work ethic, Urrutia hung about for a year before Cincinnati cut their losses.
Michael Johnson, DE (70th overall pick in 2009): Once you look past the sack numbers and instead at the total pressures numbers relative to how much Johnson rushes the passer, you aren’t quite so impressed by the former third-rounder. Just a very inconsistent player who can look good at times, and very ‘meh’ at others.
Fui Vakapuna, FB (215th overall pick in 2009): Found his way back onto the active roster after being released when a shortage of lead blockers saw the Bengals turn back to something familiar. Still, unable to crack the lineup, Vakapuna never got on the field for Cincinnati.
Clinton McDonald, DT (249th overall pick in 2009): The former seventh round pick got on the field for 59 snaps, but his greatest value was in helping the Bengals land Kelly Jennings for a year.
Freddie Brown, WR (252nd overall pick in 2009): Spent ’09 on the practice squad before eventually being waived to make way for Terrell Owens.
Jermaine Gresham, TE (21st overall pick in 2010): Gresham took a big step forward in 2011, but you still can’t help but feel the Bengals aren’t getting the best out of him by getting him doing so much in-line blocking. A mismatch as a receiver, he’s mismatched trying to block in the run game more often than not.
Jordan Shipley, WR (84th overall pick in 2010): There’s plenty of potential with Shipley, but he didn’t get a chance to build on an encouraging rookie year as injury limited him to 52 snaps in 2011. With Andy Dalton doing a lot of damage on shorter throws, Shipley could become a big benefactor.
Roddrick Muckelroy, LB (131st overall pick in 2010): Missed his sophomore season with ruptured Achilles, Muckleroy should get a chance to compete for playing time if he’s fully healed in 2012.
Otis Hudson, G (152nd overall pick in 2010): Still floating about the roster, Hudson was part of the active squad when Bobbie Williams went down last year.
Dezmon Briscoe, WR (191st overall pick in 2010): The Bengals had him earmarked for their practice squad before the Buccaneers offered him three times the usual practice squad money to join up with them.
Reggie Stephens, G (228th overall pick in 2010): The former seventh round pick was waived before the start of his sophomore year.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Keith Rivers, LB (9th overall pick in 2008): It’s not that Rivers has played poorly when on the field, quite the opposite as his combined +15.4 grade will attest to. But in four seasons with the Bengals, he managed just 1,373 snaps (which was just 165 more than Stephen Tulloch managed in all games last year). Rivers failed to make an every-down role his own and, with injuries problems aplenty, was traded away for just a fifth round pick.
Pat Sims, DT (77th overall pick in 2008): While Rivers couldn’t get on the field enough, you wonder if Sims has got on the field too much. In four years with the club he’s played 1,764 snaps and earned a -23.1 grade. Granted, the majority of that came in his first two years in the league, but Sims has never been anything more than just a body, and a guy the Bengals should always be looking to upgrade on.
Andre Caldwell, WR (97th overall pick in 2008): Caldwell has been given plenty of opportunities but just struggles to consistently get open and make plays. One of those interesting things that bad things tend to happen when you throw to Caldwell, whether it be drops or interceptions (on balls thrown to him, seven resulted in picks – the third highest in the league).
Angelo Craig, DE (244th overall pick in 2008): The undersized Craig was waived as a rookie and allowed to find his way to the Panthers’ practice squad.
Andre Smith, T (6th overall pick in 2009): His first two years in the league were extremely underwhelming, and while he took a step forward in 2011, was it enough to justify a sixth overall pick? Helped out by a team that gets rid of the ball extremely quickly, Smith isn’t the dominant run blocker many expected, and just gets beat too much to live up to his drafting.
Chase Coffman, TE (98th overall pick in 2009): Big things were expected out of Coffman and all he ended up producing were 52 uneventful snaps. Three receptions for 30 yards just isn’t a great return for a third round pick.
Jonathan Luigs, C (106th overall pick in 2009): Never got on the field on offense and was cut a year after being drafted. Not a great return on a fourth round pick.
Kevin Huber, P (142nd overall pick in 2009): If you’re going to spend a fifth round pick on a punter, he better end up being at least an average one. Huber is not.
Brandon Ghee, CB (96th overall pick in 2010): Even with injuries over the past two years Ghee has only been able to get on the field for 13 defensive snaps. That comes after Ghee was waived by the Bengals before his sophomore year and was able to clear waivers and make their practice squad. Underwhelming.
-1.0: What a waste!
Jerome Simpson, WR (46th overall pick in 2008): Something of a project when he was drafted, the athletic Simpson may be remembered for his perfect landing in Week 16 of the 2011 season, but his (in)complete game speaks louder than any one moment. After spending most of his first three years in the league either inactive or sitting on the bench, Simpson got his chance in 2011 and responded with -11.9 grade. Not what you expect out of a second round pick.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of Jamarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
No Russell/ Leaf hybrids in this draft.
Inconsistent. That’s the best way of describing the Bengals’ drafting, too often not getting enough in return for their high picks. Their 2008 and 2009 classes have been particularly disappointing, though the 2010 class could make you forget about that. Picking up players like Atkins and Dunlap in the same draft, while also adding talents like Gresham and Shipley, could prove telling in the long run if the Bengals are to consistently challenge the Steelers and Ravens.