In the coming weeks, I’ll take a look at a few teams that I believe really helped themselves through the 2012 NFL Draft. I’m not big on handing out grades, because there’s no way to tell if a draft class will pan out until they get on the field. However, based on the scouting reports of the prospects, which teams gathered the talent required to make an immediate impact is fairly apparent. First up: the Cincinnati Bengals.
This was a solid draft from top to bottom, with prospects that should step in from day one and contribute. Head coach Marvin Lewis has a defensive background, and he should love 1st round pick Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama. Kirkpatrick could push for a starting corner spot as a rookie, and he has the length and frame for a possible position move to safety at some point.
And speaking of safety, they snagged Boise State’s George Iloka in the 5th round. I saw him with a 2nd round grade from many scouts. He has the tools he needs to be a starting safety in the NFL. They also added corner Shaun Prater from Iowa in the 5th round who will provide some good depth in nickle and dime packages.
The two big defensive tackles they added should become an immediate part of the D-line rotation. Penn State’s Devon Still in the 2nd round, and Clemson’s Brandon Thompson both come with a good resume.
Offensively, they added numerous skill position help for quarterback Andy Dalton, but he may be most pleased with the starting caliber guard they added in Wisconsin’s Kevin Zeitler. He was acquired with the team’s second 1st round pick.
Dalton will have help in the passing game with 3rd round Rutgers receiver, Mohamed Sanu, who is about as polished as they come. Tight end Orson Charles, who they got in the 4th round out of Georgia, should also be an asset to the team’s passing game. Charles is a good all around player that will see time as a rookie.
To top it off, the Bengals got good value in the 6th round with Ohio State running back, Dan Herron, who is athletically gifted and will make the team find a way to get him on the field.