Grading the Bengals Past 5 Drafts

Image via Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals have had a mixed bag of draft results in recent tries. Let’s go over and see where they hit and where they missed.

BENGALS 2014 DRAFT:

R1: Darqueze Dennard | B
R2: Jeremy Hill | C-
R3: Will Clarke | C-
R4: Russell Bodine | C-
R5: A.J. McCarron | C+
R6: Marquis Flowers | D
R7: James Wright | D
R7: Lavelle Westbrooks | D

OVERALL GRADE: C

This draft class started out pretty well. Jeremy Hill broke out as a rookie and rushed for over 1,000 yards in half a season. However, we all know what happened next. Darqueze Dennard, like most young secondary pieces in Cincinnati, had to earn his way onto the field and he played solid and consistent for years. McCarron seemed like a very viable backup option and almost brought the Bengals a playoff win. All things considered, this was a good pick in the 5th round. The rest of this class never really panned out and depending on what Darqueze Dennard does in free agency, its possible that no one from this class is on the team next year.

Bengals 2015 draft:

R1: Cedric Ogbuehi | F
R2: Jake Fisher | D+
R3: Tyler Kroft | C
R3: P.J. Dawson | D
R4: Josh Shaw | D
R5: C.J. Uzomah | B
R6: Derron Smith | C-
R7: Mario Alford | D

OVERALL GRADE: D

This class bottomed out. Starting with one of the worst picks in the first round in the past decade. Almost everyone in this class didn’t pan out except C.J. Uzomah (who just got a 3 yr, $18 mil deal to stay in Cincinnati) and Tyler Kroft somewhat who just signed a deal of his own with Buffalo. Uzomah is now the only current Bengal on the team from this class with Kroft and Ogbuehi both finding new teams.

Bengals 2016 draft:

R1: William Jackson III | A-
R2: Tyler Boyd | A-
R3: Nick Vigil | C+
R4: Andrew Billings | C+
R5: Christian Westerman | C
R6: Cody Core | D
R7: Clayton Fejedelem | C

OVERALL GRADE: B+

This is one of my favorite draft classes. WJ3 has panned out very well. Despite missing his entire rookie year, Jackson has been a consistent lockdown corner and anchors the secondary. Tyler Boyd was in danger of becoming a bust but his 3rd year in the NFL proved he was legit. Boyd looks to be one of the better receivers in the league. Pair him with A.J. Green for a full season now and Watch out 👀. Vigil, Billings, Westerman, and Fejedelem have all been solid pieces and filled in nicely when needed. They still have room to grow and some have starting capability. Great value for mid to late round picks.

Bengals 2017 draft:

R1: John Ross | C
R2: Joe Mixon | A-
R3: Jordan Willis | C+
R4: Carl Lawson | B
R4: Josh Malone | C-
R4: Ryan Glasgow | C-
R5: J.J. Dielman | D
R5: Jake Elliott | B-
R6: Brandon Wilson | C
R6: Jordan Evans | C
R7: Mason Schreck | D

OVERALL GRADE: B

This could possibly turn out to be the best draft class out of the past five. Although John Ross hasn’t exactly lived up to the number nine pick in the draft so far, he adds diversity to the offense and is just getting started. Mixon seems to be the best pick out of this class so far as he led the AFC in rushing yards last season. Carl Lawson isn’t far behind him though, I’m very excited about his bounce-back year. Willis and Glasgow are reliable backups with potential to start. Jake Elliott should’ve made the roster but now he is with the Eagles sooooo. The rest of this class is filled with solid backups. Good class.

Bengals 2018 draft:

R1: Billy Price | C+
R2: Jessie Bates III | B+
R3: Sam Hubbard | B
R3: Malik Jefferson | C-
R4: Mark Walton | C-
R5: Davontae Harris | C
R5: Andrew Brown | D
R5: Darius Phillips | C
R7: Logan Woodside | D
R7: Rod Taylor | C-
R7: Auden Tate | C

OVERALL GRADE: B-

It may not be totally fair to hand out grades to them after just one year. However, this class is very promising. Some future stars and good backups here. Pretty good value all around.

The Bengals have hit and missed their fair share in recent memory. But now its all about moving forward and focusing on the future. Who should the Bengals take in this year’s draft?

About Chris_bengalscentre 30 Articles
Bengals/NFL writer

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