With the draft in the books time to go back and do a wrap up of how teams made out. I might be a bit of a harsh critic to the top 3 round picks, but that is where you need to hit in the draft to be successful. Sure most of the league is 4th rounders and later, but any that turn into Pro Bowlers or All-Pro players is mostly out of luck. So without further adieu, let's start with the first team on the clock....The Cincinnati Bengals.
1 (1) - Joe Burrow QB LSU - B-
2 (1) - Tee Higgins WR Clemson - C-
3 (1) - Logan Wilson LB Wyoming - B
I am going to break it up between the first 3 rounds and the second half of the draft with my grades. Starting off the draft with Burrow was almost unfortunate making the draft very predictable and left the Bengals kind of between a rock and a hard place in my opinion. Even if Miami offered them 9 draft picks including two in the first round, Burrow being from Ohio and their rabid inter state loyalty in that state forced them to take Burrow. Many would say it was the right move, but I am not so sure. He is a very solid quarterback who I think will have a similar career to Matthew Stafford in Detroit. Burrow will put up good numbers, his accuracy, IQ, and poise will lend it so. However, I will forever doubt Cincy of being able to field a good enough coaching staff or roster to support him. However, many see Stafford as a Hall of Famer with his amazing numbers and stats so I guess that would be fine for most. I just think they would want more from their son of Ohio in Cincy. On to the Higgins pick, I understand that this was a pick to help out Burrow who has some rapport with him during their work outs leading to the draft. I just did not see the need at receiver thanks to a pretty solid skill position group. I also think Higgins has a chance of either being a great receiver or not in the league in 2-3 seasons. To me there is no in between since he is a receiver predicated on creating separation with routes and his length. Wilson was my favorite pick of them all as he is a quick starter and fills a big area of need for them. Overall, not a bad first group of picks I just wish owner/GM Mike Brown would move around for once and get more picks to enhance this talentless roster.
4 (1) - Akeem Davis-Gaither LB Appalachian St - B
5 (1) - Khalid Kareem DE Notre Dame - C+
6 (1) - Hakeem Adenji OL Kansas - C
7 (1) - Markus Bailey LB Purdue - A
Clearly, Mike Brown and company wanted to overhaul this linebacker group. Out of all their picks I honestly think their linebackers between Wilson, Davis-Gaither, and Bailey were their best picks. All can play in this league at various levels of success. To me Kareem is a bit of a high floor pick, but lacks upside or any real impact going forward with Sam Hubbard, Carl Lawson, and veteran Carlos Dunlap all in his way. Adenji would have been a great pick had he not been their first blocker they had taken. He needs a lot of development to become a starter and I doubt he will have the time on this weak Bengals o-line. When injuries occur and it will happen Adenji will be forced to start to soon. My biggest issue with this draft class was an avoidance of giving Burrow more support to be successful by giving him better blockers and maybe a tight end. Higgins will need to beat out a healthy A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, and ascending Auden Tate to get to the field. They were better off with a blocker with that first pick in the 2nd round. Overall, I grade this draft a B- and I am not sure they will see the full return from Burrow until next season. Like his arrival to LSU he will be coming in with less practice time with no OTAs and most likely a shortened training camp along with possibly no Pre-Season games. Not to mention he will be on his back often behind a bad o-line. Burrow to me will be fine, but like I said he will not be given much help in Cincy with this ownership forever miring this team in mediocrity.