2013 NFL Offseason: Cincinnati Bengals
Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents
Cincinnati Bengals (Last Year: 10-6)
2013 NFL Draft Grade: B
Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Bengals have some holes on their defense (as well as right tackle and running back) that they'll have to address. Fortunately, they have tons of picks to take care of that. With lots of cap space, Cincinnati is in a great spot.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Bengals have reached the playoffs twice with Andy Dalton, but they've scored a total of 23 points in the two games. They needed to give Andy Dalton some weapons to work with outside of A.J. Green, and they managed to accomplish that with their first two picks, Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard.
Everyone expected Cincinnati to go for a back like Bernard, so the Eifert selection was more interesting. Tight end wasn't a perceived need with Jermaine Gresham already there, but the two-tight end set is becoming more and more popular, and it'll be extremely useful for Dalton, who doesn't have the strongest arm in the world.
The Bengals made some other solid selections like Sean Porter in the fourth round, but I didn't like a few of their choices. Margus Hunt is extremely raw and didn't fill a need at No. 53. Shawn Williams, meanwhile, was a slight reach in the third frame, though he does fit well in Mike Zimmer's defense. I also don't know what to make of Tanner Hawkinson at 156 or Rex Burkhead at 190. Why not actually fill needs there?
Cincinnati came away with a quality draft overall. I would have changed some things, but the front office definitely improved its roster.
2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
21. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame: B+ Grade
This is the ultimate "BPA vs. need" argument. The Bengals didn't have a hole at tight end with Jermaine Gresham there, but Tyler Eifert was definitely the top prospect available. Besides, teams like to use two-tight end sets, and it's not like Gresham is setting the world on fire with his receiving ability. Andy Dalton has limited arm strength, so he'll lean on Eifert quite frequently.
37. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina: B- Grade
We heard that the Bengals were going "all in" on Eddie Lacy, but Giovani Bernard makes more sense as a complement for BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Bernard is a speed back with return ability, which is exactly what Cincinnati needed. This is a slight reach - Bernard probably would have been around for Cincinnati's second-rounder - but he's a very good fit.
53. Margus Hunt, DE, SMU: C Grade
The Bengals are definitely in favor of drafting the best player available regardless of need because Margus Hunt doesn't fill a need at all. The Bengals are pretty set at defensive end with Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins. Hunt is very raw and will have to spend a couple of years developing. I'm not a fan of drafting such a project in the second round.
84. Shawn Williams, S, Georgia: C+ Grade
This is a slight reach, but Shawn Williams is a good fit in Mike Zimmer's defense. The Bengals had to find help at safety, but had to wait this long because they missed out on Kenny Vaccaro and Eric Reid at No. 21.
118. Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M: A- Grade
I thought Sean Porter would go a round earlier than this, so I like the value. Porter makes sense as a need as well, as he can play learn from James Harrison for a couple of years and then eventually take over the starter if he develops accordingly.
156. Tanner Hawkinson, OT, Kansas: C- Grade
Tanner Hawkinson was a borderline draftable prospect, so this is a reach. I also don't see how Tanner Hawkinson contributes anytime soon. I'm not a fan of this selection.
190. Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska: B- Grade
Rex Burkhead fits the range in the middle of the sixth round, but he wasn't needed with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard on the depth chart. He's not bad injury insurance though.
197. Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas: A- Grade
I like this pick a lot. Cobi Hamilton probably should have gone in the fourth-round range, so he slipped a bit. The Bengals wanted to add another wideout, though I thought they'd take Da'Rick Rogers.
240. Reid Fragel, OT, Ohio State: A Grade
Reid Fragel was considered a mid-round prospect; I've had him in the fourth or fifth. This is great value for the Bengals, as Fragel could eventually be Andrew Whitworth's successor at left tackle.
251. T.J. Johnson, C, South Carolina: A- Grade
The Bengals needed someone to challenge Kyle Cook at center. Despite being a seventh-rounder, T.J. Johnson could do it.
*** 2013 NFL TEAM NEEDS BELOW COMMENT BOARD ***
The Bengals need to ask themselves if Andy Dalton is the answer. He has shown that he can beat inferior competition, but he has yet to put together a quality performance against an elite defense. He was absolutely terrible against the Texans in the playoffs for a second year in a row. He should improve, but will he ever be capable of leading Cincinnati to a Super Bowl?
- Running Back: BenJarvus Green-Ellis is just a mediocre plodder whose stats were enhanced because of a powerful offensive line. The Bengals need to add a speed complement. There will be plenty of options in Round 2. Reggie Bush might also be considered.
- Two Linebackers: Vontaze Burfict was a pleasant surprise for Cincinnati this season, but Manny Lawson is a free agent, while Rey Maualuga was the worst starting linebacker in the NFL. Signed James Harrison; re-signed Rey Maualuga
- Safety: Nate Clements had to play the safety position despite being a natural cornerback because Taylor Mays was awful. Both Clements and Chris Crocker are free agents in their 30s.
- Right Tackle: Andre Smith is coming off a Pro Bowl-type campaign. He'll be hitting free agency and must be retained. Re-signed Andre Smith
- Defensive End: The Bengals have three defensive ends entering free agency - and this includes starter Michael Johnson. Someone like Damontre Moore makes sense at No. 21 overall if Johnson isn't franchised. Franchised Michael Johnson; re-signed Robert Geathers and Wallace Gilberry
- Center: Cincinnati did not get quality play out of the center position with Kyle Cook and Jeff Faine. Signed Mike Pollak
- Cornerback: Depth is needed here with Terence Newman and Pacman Jones heading for free agency. Re-signed Terence Newman and Pacman Jones
- Quarterback: The Bengals should find a young quarterback to groom behind Andy Dalton just in case he isn't the answer. Signed Josh Johnson; claimed John Skelton
- Wide Receiver: Mohamed Sanu might emerge as a decent No. 2 option for Dalton. Depth is needed regardless.
- Kicker: Josh Brown and Mike Nugent are both free agents. Re-signed Mike Nugent
- Punter: Kevin Huber's contract will expire in March as well. Re-signed Kevin Huber
2013 NFL Free Agent Signings:
James Harrison, DE/OLB, Steelers. Age: 35.
Signed with Bengals (2 years)
James Harrison can still put good pressure on the quarterback, but given that he turns 35 in May, it's fair to wonder how long that'll last. He's also injury-prone, so that doesn't help his cause.
- John Skelton, QB, Cardinals. Age: 25. -- Claimed by Bengals
- Mike Pollak, G/C, Panthers. Age: 28. -- Signed with Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Andre Smith, OT, Bengals. Age: 26.
Re-signed with Bengals
Andre Smith has developed into one of the league's premier right tackles. He was a dominant run-blocker and also excelled in pass protection. There's still some concern that he could get lazy with a big contract, but he deserves the money based on how he's played.
Michael Johnson, DE, Bengals. Age: 26.
Franchised by Bengals
The sky's the limit for Michael Johnson, who turns 26 in February. He recorded 11.5 sacks in 2012 while playing the run very well. He's expected to be franchised.
Kevin Huber, P, Bengals. Age: 28.
Re-signed with Bengals (5 years)
Kevin Huber was fourth in net punting among starters in 2012.
Nate Clements, S/CB, Bengals. Age: 33.
Nate Clements, who turned 33 in December, had to play safety this past year because Taylor Mays was such a liability in coverage. He'll probably have to stay at safety given his declining skills.
Thomas Howard, OLB, Bengals. Age: 30.
Thomas Howard was out for all but one game in 2012 with a torn ACL. It was impressive that Cincinnati's defense still played well despite missing such a solid linebacker.
Manny Lawson, OLB, Bengals. Age: 29.
Signed with Bills
The Bengals asked Manny Lawson to rush the passer and stop the run, and he did that very well. He's not good in coverage, however.
Chris Crocker, S, Bengals. Age: 33.
Chris Crocker is still an OK starting safety, but he'll be 33 in March. His best days are behind him.
Josh Brown, K, Bengals. Age: 34.
Signed with Giants
Josh Brown hit 11-of-12 kicks in 2012, but he's one year removed from going just 21-of-28.
Pacman Jones, CB/KR, Bengals. Age: 30.
Re-signed with Bengals (3 years)
Pacman Jones played well in nickel situations, but will turn 30 at the end of September.
Robert Geathers, DE, Bengals. Age: 30.
Re-signed with Bengals
Robert Geathers did not play well this past season because of a lingering knee injury. He was still decent as a run-stopper.
Wallace Gilberry, DE, Bengals. Age: 28.
Re-signed with Bengals (3 years, $6.75 million)
Wallace Gilberry is a quality nickel pass-rusher. He recorded 6.5 sacks despite not playing very many snaps.
Terence Newman, CB, Bengals. Age: 34.
Re-signed with Bengals (2 years, $5 million)
Terence Newman was surprisingly pretty solid this past season after struggling in Dallas. Credit must be given to defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who knows how to use Newman, but it was still shocking to see Newman do so well.
- Cedric Peerman (RFA), RB, Bengals. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Bengals
- Brandon Tate, KR, Bengals. Age: 25. -- Re-signed with Bengals (1 year)
- Rey Maualuga, ILB, Bengals. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Bengals (2 years, $6.5 million)
- Pat Sims, DT, Bengals. Age: 27. -- Signed with Raiders
- Mike Nugent, K, Bengals. Age: 31. -- Re-signed with Bengals
- Brian Leonard, FB, Bengals. Age: 29. -- Signed with Buccaneers (1 year)
- Dan Skuta, OLB, Bengals. Age: 27. -- Signed with 49ers (2 years)
- Dennis Roland, OT, Bengals. Age: 30. -- Re-signed with Bengals
- Bernard Scott, RB, Bengals. Age: 29. -- Re-signed with Bengals
- Jason Allen, CB, Bengals. Age: 30.
- Jeromy Miles (RFA), S, Bengals. Age: 26. -- Tendered by Bengals
- Dick Quinn, TE, Bengals. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Bengals
- Bruce Gradkowski, QB, Bengals. Age: 30. -- Signed with Steelers (3 years)
2013 NFL Free Agent Positions:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades
2013 NBA Mock Draft - May 22
2013 Fantasy Football Rankings - May 22
2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 21
Charlie's 2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 20
NFL Picks - Feb. 3
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