Cincinnati Bengals: Draft Grades and Recap

Cincinnati Bengals: Draft Grades and Recap

by April 30, 2019 0 comments

The Cincinnati Bengals addressed several needs this weekend, but question marks regarding the future of the franchise remain.

The 2019 NFL Draft is in the books, and for the Cincinnati Bengals, it was one of many firsts. New head coach Zac Taylor had his first crack at helping guide Mike Brown and company build the future of their franchise.

At first glance, it appears the Bengals played this year’s draft safe. Let’s take a look at each selection, and determine whether or not the team made the right selection.

Round #1, Selection #11: Jonah Williams, Offensive Lineman, Alabama 

The Bengals made the definition of a safe selection when they chose offensive lineman Jonah Williams from Alabama with their first-round selection.

Williams is a versatile lineman who can play both the guard and tackle positions. At Alabama, he helped anchor the Tide’s offensive line to three national championship game appearances that included one win. In 2018 was named first-team all-SEC, unanimous All-American, won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy.

With this pick, the Bengals get a lineman who went up against the best competition in college football both in the SEC and in several college football playoff games and dominated. For any rebuilding team starting up front is always smart. That’s exactly what the Bengals did here, and fans should be happy about it.

Grade: A 

Round #2, Selection #52: Drew Sample, Tight End, Washington

The Bengals made a trade with the Denver Broncos to move down 10 spots in the second round. While Denver used Cincinnati’s original pick on quarterback Drew Lock, the Bengals used their new pick on tight end Drew Sample from Washington.

To say the team reached with the selection of Sample is an understatement. Sample was projected by many as a fifth or sixth round pick. Instead, the Bengals took him just outside the top 50. In 2018 Sample posted the only season that saw him make more than 10 catches as he hauled in a career-high 25 receptions for 252 yards and three touchdowns.

While stats are sometimes deceiving, it’s hard to tell what the Bengals saw here.

Grade: D- 

Round #3, Selection #72: Germaine Pratt, Linebacker, NC State

With their third-round selection, the Bengals selected a much-needed linebacker in Germaine Pratt from North Carolina State.

Pratt bursted onto the scene in his 2018 senior season as he recorded 104 total tackles with 10 coming for a loss, got the quarterback for six sacks and forced two fumbles. The big season earned him first-team ACC honors and boosted his draft stock that was almost nonexistent prior to the season in a big way.

With the Bengals having holes all over their defense including at linebacker this pick seems wise. However, Pratt really only had one standout year in college so hopefully, his senior year was just the start to something special.

Grade: B

Round #4, Selection #104: Ryan Finley, Quarterback, NC State

The Bengals opened round four by trading up with the 49ers to land quarterback Ryan Finley out of North Carolina State.

Finley became the fifth quarterback selected in the 2019 draft despite many believing he may be better than some drafted in front of him. Unlike several rookies, Finley is already 24 years-old as he spent the first two years of his college carer at Boise State before transferring to NC State. With the Wolfpack, Finley posted three seasons in which he threw for over 3,000 yards with completion percentages in the mid to high 60’s.

With Andy Dalton’s future unknown the Bengals took the most experienced quarterback in the draft and someone who has a chance to succeed at the next level.

Grade: A- 

Round #4, Selection #125: Rennel Wren, Defensive Tackle, Arizona State

With their second of three fourth-round selections, the Bengals added a run-stopper in Rennel Wren from Arizona State.

Wren stands 6’6 and weighs 297 pounds; thus inserting him upfront will create an intimidation factor the Bengals currently lack. In four seasons at Arizona State Wren recorded 14.5 tackles per loss and knocked down five passes.

The main, however, is that he truly is only a factor in the run defense as he only recorded three sacks in his entire college carer. Getting a big body is great but time will tell just how effective Wren will be for the Bengals.

Grade: C+

Round #4, Selection #136: Micheal Jordan, Offensive Guard, Ohio State

The Bengals finished off the fourth round with yet another trade as they moved up to select offensive lineman Micheal Jordan from Ohio State.

Jordan has excellent size at 6’6 and proved to be an effective run blocker in college, but many were not impressed as he slipped to the seventh round in some mock-draft projections.

The Bengals must have seen something special in Jordan to move up to get him and drafting bodies upfront is never negative; thus, this pick seems to be one of low-risk high reward.

Grade: C

Round #6, Selection #182: Trayveon Williams, Running Back, Texas A&M

After sitting out of the fifth round, the Bengals opened up a busy round six by adding Trayveon Williams of Texas A&M to their backfield.

Williams was a stand out in the SEC in 2018 as he led the conference in both rushing yards with 1,760 and rushing touchdowns with 18. In addition, Williams racked in 278 yards in the receiving game scoring one touchdown.

With an offense that already features playmakers including at running back in Joe Mixon Williams provides even more balance and if given enough opportunities can make a significant impact.

Grade: A- 

Round #6, Selection #210: Deshaun Davis, Linebacker, Auburn

With their second of three sixth-round selections, the Bengals added their second linebacker of the draft class in Deshaun Davis from Auburn.

Davis emerged as a leader in college as the Auburn defensive captain recorded 112 total tackles with 15 coming for a loss.

The Bengals defense ranked dead last in the NFL a year ago so adding a player who’s always around the ball late in the draft is a massive victory.

Grade: A+ 

Round #6, Selection #211: Rodney Anderson, Running Back, Oklahoma

Despite adding a running back earlier in the same round and having Joe Mixon firmly in the starting role the Bengals still went ahead and drafted Rodney Anderson from Oklahoma.

With all of the team’s defensive needs, the move feels like a, but it’s hard to argue against drafting a player who had one college season in which he ran for 1,161 yards and racked in 281 more in the passing game.

Time will tell, but if Anderson stays healthy he could be a steal for the Bengals even with the depth they have at running back.

Grade: C- 

Round #7, Selection #233: Jordan Brown, Cornerback, South Dakota 

Despite having a poor secondary, the Bengals waited until their very last pick to take a cornerback in Jordan Brown.

Brown earned the opportunity to play at the senior bowl thanks to four productive years at South Dakota however other than that never got all too much attention playing in the FCS.

He addresses a position of need which is what the seventh round is for thus, this pick seems safe.

Grade: B 

All in all, despite a reach in the second round it seems the Bengals took the best player available approach. While it would have been nice to see them add more to their secondary they did add much-needed depth at linebacker and on the offensive line which should help them in 2019 and beyond.

Overall Grade: B

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