Tuesday, May 17, 2011

NFL Draft Analysis Part 4: The Best Draft of 2011

It was a tough call between the Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals, both of whom had outstanding drafts. But when it came to meeting their needs with talented prospects in sensible rounds, the clear winner had to be...

Round 1
Pick 4 (4): AJ Green, WR, Georgia
The Bengals got their guy with Green. With the future of the "TOcho show" in question, Cinci needed to make certain that they had another viable receiving option. AJ is a stud. Every picture of him, you see him skying for a ball. He may not have the raw athletic ability of Julio Jones, but AJ is more complete in his skill set. He is a pretty good route runner, but has great hands and is physical and fearless when going up for the ball. He also has great YAC potential. You can't say enough good things about his ability and potential. AJ gives the Bengals a deep threat that they haven't had in a while.

Round 2
Pick 3 (35): Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
Carson Palmer should be gone soon, and there are so many things to like about this pick. First of all, they didn't reach to get Andy, like so many teams reached for QBs in the first round. This way they could still snag AJ Green. Andy was made to run the West Coast and with Jay Gruden coaching him, the sky is the limit. Andy could improve his arms strength, but you can't say enough about his intangibles and desire to work hard and win. He is just the guy that the Bengals need to lead their team if they want to get back to a Super Bowl. Great fit.

Round 3
Pick 2 (66): Dontay Moch, OLB, Nevada
Apparently there are some naysayers of this pick, but I love it! With Dontay Moch, you get an outstanding athlete with great speed (he runs a 4.4 in the 40). He's also proved at Nevada that he has a great motor and never quits while on the field. He'll be making a transition to LB and has already made a great deal of progress in some all-star games. He has a lot of potential to strengthen a LB core which I still consider to be sub-par. If Marvin Lewis is smart, he will move Rey Maualuga inside so Dontay can start right away. If he does start, Cinci will be expecting him to give them some much needed run support.

Round 4
Pick 4 (101): Clint Boling, Guard, Georgia
Another Bulldog and another solid pick by the Bengals. Boling has anchored UGA's o-line for sometime now with great success. he's got great feet and strength and boy does he look good as a lead blocker. Get used to seeing Clint as the pulling guard on power plays and lighting some guys up. He should start from day 1 and help a Bengals o-line that hasn't been up to snuff in a long time.  

Round 5
Pick 3 (134): Robert Sands, S, West Virginia
Sands has to be in the right zone coverage scheme to be able to make plays, as he isn't all that fabulous at it on his own. But the Bengals will take all the help they can get at DB. To his credit, he's not afraid to step up and stop the run. Not bad at all for a 5th round pick.

Round 6
Pick 2 (167): Ryan Whalen, WR, Stanford
Stereotypical white WR, great hands, but underwhelming speed that likely won't be enough to succeed at the next level. But hey, Cinci can always use WR depth,  and many of their key draft needs have already been met, so why not role the dice if they like the kid. He's a Stanford grad, so at least you know he's smart and knows how to work hard.

Round 7
Pick 4 (207): Korey Lindsey, CB, Southern Illinois
I could be stepping out on a limb, but as I said before Cinci has been hurting for DBs for years, and this could be a better value pick than Sands considering the point at which he was drafted. Lindsey is by no means at the top of the Corners class and he might struggle at first making the NFL transition (especially without the help of coaches due to the lockout). However, having watched some film, I believe he does present considerable upside if he's willing to put in the work. Give him 2 or 3 years and you might see him working into the rotation.

Pick 43 (246): Jay Finley, RB, Baylor
Sorry Baylor fans, but you won't see Finley challenging Benson for the starting RB job, but he does have a realistic shot at being the steady backup. He's got pretty good feet and agility, but definitely needs to work on his blocking. Nice pick for 246th overall.

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