The Cincinnati Bengals have appeared to have turned the corner, having made the playoffs in two consecutive years; led by former second-round pick Andy Dalton. The Bengals have done a great job in recent years of drafting the best player available that also fits a need. They tend to not reach often, instead letting the board play out. 2013 was no exception, as the Bengals never traded up or down to select any players, instead grabbing the player from the top of their personal big board that was still available. They filled some needs and also added some serious talent to their roster.
Here’s a look at our full analysis and grade for every single pick.
First Round, 21st Pick: Tyler Eifert - Tight End, Notre Dame
By now it should be evident that A.J. Green can only carry the offense so far. If the Bengals want to take the next towards having an elite offense, they needed to get more weapons for Dalton.
Enter Eifert, the consensus top tight end in this year’s draft class. Eifert is a top-10 talent and there’s really no reason he should’ve made it past the Chicago Bears at No. 20. I was a bit shocked initially by this pick, but I loved from the very beginning. The Bengals will be able to utilize two tight end sets now and Dalton finally has a second game-changing threat downfield. Grade: A+
Second Round, 37th Pick: Giovani Bernard - Running Back, North Carolina
This was another great pick. The Bengals needed a dual-threat running back and Bernard fits the bill to a T. Bernard was my top-rated running back in this year’s draft and will give Dalton and Co. yet another potent weapon on offense. Bernard also possesses return ability and could be an upgrade on special teams for Cincinnati. Grade: A+
Second Round, 53rd Pick: Margus Hunt - Defensive End, Southern Methodist
While hunt is extremely talented and has a ton of upside, he’s extremely raw and needs refinement. This was a bit of a questionable pick, given that the Bengals already have Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins on the roster and could’ve grabbed a very talented safety here. All that said, the Bengals love to take the best player available, and Hunt sure does bring a lot to the table. He won’t be forced into a starting role right away and will be allowed time to learn. Hunt will also make an instant impact on special teams with his insane kick-blocking ability. Grade: B
Third Round, 84th Pick: Shawn Williams - Safety, Georgia
By waiting until the third round to finally address their need at safety, the Bengals missed out on a lot of talented prospects. There were still better safeties available here though, most notably Williams’ teammate Bacarri Rambo. It should be noted though, that the Bengals have said that Williams is a great fit for defensive coordinator, Mike Zimmer’s scheme. Grade: B-
Fourth Round, 118th Pick: Sean Porter - Outside Linebacker, Texas A&M
Another pick I love. The Bengals got an outstanding player and tremendous value in Porter, who I had an early third-round grade on. He’ll be able to learn from James Harrison and will be the strong outside linebacker of the future. Grade: A
Fifth Round, 156th Pick: Tanner Hawkinson - Offensive Tackle, Kansas
The Bengals needed to add some depth on the offensive line, but with players like Jordan Mills and Ricky Wagner still on the board, this is a total of a reach. Grade: C-
Sixth Round, 190th Pick: Rex Burkhead - Running Back, Nebraska
The Value fits here, but with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and now Giovani Bernard on the roster, there’s really no need. I guess it’s always good to have a little injury insurance, right? Grade: C
Sixth Round, 197th Pick: Cobi Hamilton - Wide Receiver, Arkansas
The Bengals got even more offensive firepower here. Hamilton is a talented pass catcher who will help make this offense even more dynamic. You could argue they should’ve taken Da’Rick Rogers here, but this is still a solid choice. Grade: A-
Seventh Round, 240th Pick: Reid Fragel - Offensive Tackle, Ohio State
The Bengals make up for the terrible Tanner Hawkinson selection in the fifth and get a ton of value with Fragel here. Love this pick. Grade: A
Seventh Round, 251st Pick: T.J. Johnson - Center, South Carolina
Cincinnati needed to add depth at center and got good value here with Johnson. Grade: B+
Final Grade: B+ (88 percent)