On Monday I looked at the Dallas Cowboys 2011 draft. Some may ask what that has to do with the 49ers. Well, I will tell you; they are the 49es first non-divisional opponents of 2011. Today, I am going to take a look at the Cincinnati Bengals 2011 draft and the whether or not I view it as a success. The Bengals are in complete disarray right now, but that didn't stop them from having a real solid draft class and addressing some real needs.
The Bengals may be a "W" on paper for the 49ers, but this draft may make Cincinnati a bit more competitive in that game and during the entire 2011 season in general.
1st Round, 4th Pick WR A.J. Green Georgia
CBS Sports Line Ranking: #4 2010 Stats: 57 Receptions, 848 Yards, 8 TD
Overview: This was a pick that the Bengals had to make. Their receiving corp is now incredibly thin with Terrell Owens apparently out of the picture and Chad Ochocinco either ready to leave town or continue to regress as a receiver.
A.J. Green is pretty much the most surest thing you are going to get out of a receiver in the draft. He has all the ability to be a #! wide receiver in the NFL. In fact, I believe that he will be their #1 target in 2011. Jordan Shipley and A.J. Green will make up a nice 1-2 tandem moving forward. Grade: A
2nd Round, 35th Pick: QB Andy Dalton Texas Christian
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 44 2010 Stats: 66.1 Comp %, 2857 Yards, 27 TD, 6 INT
Overview: Probably my favorite QB prospect heading up to the draft even though Colin Kaepernick continued to grow on me as April came closer. I really like the intangibles that Dalton brings to the table. He has great pocket presence, strong accuracy and a keen awareness of the field.
Moving forward, I expect Dalton to be eased into the starting lineup and continue to mature as a QB to where he becomes a Drew Brees type player. Grade: A
3rd Round, 66th Pick: LB Dontay Moch Nevada
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 67 2010 Stats: 64 Tackles, 8.5 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble
Overview: One of my personal favorites heading into the draft. I believe that Moch can transition into the NFL as a great situational pass rusher, much like what we have seen with Elvis Dumervil. Moch is too small to play defensive end but should be able to make the transition to the OLB spot in the 4-3 or even the 3-4
Cincinnati is currently lacking pass rushers, but Dontay Moch should team up extremely well with Carlos Dunlap moving forward; great pick in my opinion Grade: A
4th Round, 101st Pick: G Clint Boling Georgia
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 101
Overview: I really like the way Boling plays the guard position. What he lacks in athleticism Clint Boling makes up in passion and strength. He is a straight up mauler up the middle and should open up lanes for future Bengal RBs for years to come.
Cincinnati was in the position to go for value here in the 4th round because of the needs they address with their first three picks. I think that this decision will pay off. Grade: A
5th Round, 134th Pick: S Robert Sands West Virginia
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 141 2010 Stats: 46 Tackles, 1 INT, 1.5 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble
Overview: I had Sands going much higher in the draft, but there had to be some reason for his fall; maybe his odd tackling style scared some teams off. But, make no mistake about it, he is going to be a solid NFL player.
Reggie Nelson and Roy Williams are the Bengals two starting safeties right now. Not the most feared safeties in the NFL in terms of coverage. Initially, Cincinnati will be able to bring Sands a long slowly and use him in the nickel package but I look for him to get more involved as the season continues Grade: A
6th Round, 167th Pick: WR Ryan Whalen Stanford
CBS Sports Line Ranking: N/A 2010 Stats: 41 Receptions, 439 Yards, 2 TD
Overview: Even as a local boy I do believe that going after Whalen may have been a little bit of a reach; even in the 6th round. Players like Dwayne Harris, Ronald Johnson, DeMarco Sampson were all available here; I would have went with one of them instead Grade: B-
7th Round, 207th Pick: CB Korey Lindsey Southern Illinois
7th Round, 246th Pick: RB Jay Finley Baylor
I can't really rank the final two players of the Bengals draft because I really don't know much about them. What I can say is that Cincinnati did have needs at these two positions and did address them in the 7th round.
Synopsis: The Bengals had an extremely productive daft in 2011. In fact, I would have to say that they were among the winners of the off-season so far with what they added during the three day event. This team is in complete shambles, but you have to rebuild somewhere and they did exactly that in 2011.
In my opinion the Bengals got a true #1 wide receiver, a future franchise QB, a double digit sack machine, solid starting guard, and possibly a standout safety with their first five picks. Can you ask for more than that?
Final Grade: A