Bengals

2010 Draft Grades: Bengals

The selection of Jermaine Gresham came as no surprise to anyone, and it was one of the better picks of the 1st round. They’ve needed and tight end for years, and they’ve finally give Carson Palmer the weapon he deserves. He could be in position to have a huge rookie season if they decide to work him into their game plan from day one.

Talent-wise, Carlos Dunlap could be a steal in the 2nd round. But not in Cincinnati. When are the Bengals going to learn that you can’t continue to surround yourself with players with significant character concerns. When you put players like Dunlap in a locker room like the Bengals’, its a recipe for disaster.

I really like the selection of Jordan Shipley in the 3rd round. I think he’s a perfect compliment to Chad Ochocinco and Antonio Bryant. He should be an immediate contributor.

Brandon Ghee fell further than most expect and could be a late 3rd round steal. He won’t be asked to start, but will provide a huge upgrade to the depth in their secondary.

Geno Atkins may have been a slight reach in the 4th round, but they needed to improve the depth on their interior defensive line. I like his chance to be a contributor in the rotation from day one.

Roddrick Muckelroy is one of those players who’s production in college doesn’t match his physical skills. He doesn’t look like an NFL player, but its hard to ignore the fact that he played a significant role on one of the best defenses in college football. He may have been a reach, but should make an instant impact on special teams.

Otis Hudson was a reach, even in the 5th round. They needed to add depth to the offensive line, but they should have targeted a player who can make a more immediate impact. Hudson may not be ready to play as a rookie.

I was surprised that Dezmon Briscoe fell to the 6th round and even more surprised that he was taken after fellow Jayhawk receiver Kerry Meier. He could be a steal for the Bengals. He’s prototypical possession receiver and should be able to learn a lot from Ochocinco and Bryant. This was an ideal spot for him to land. There will be no pressure to perform early on and he can learn from two accomplished veterans.

Reggie Stephens will probably has a better chance to play as a rookie than Hudson. He can play guard or center and his versatility will make it easier for the Bengals to keep him on the roster. He has the size to be a dominant run blocker and should work his way into their rotation as a backup even though his ceiling is limited.

Overall this was a very solid draft for the Bengals. They’re ready to win now, and they gave Carson Palmer who weapons who can contribute immediately. I have very serious concerns about the selection of Carlos Dunlap, but that’s to be expected of the Bengals every April. A better 3rd day of the draft would have put them over the top, but this was still a good draft for Cincinnati for both the short and long term.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bengals, Draft Grades - 2010 Comments Off

How high could Mike Iupati go?

We haven’t seen an offensive guard go in the top 20 picks since the Seahawks selected Steve Hutchinson 17th overall in 2001. That could change this year with Mike Iupati.

2010 NFL Combine - Day OneIupati’s size (6’5″, 331 lbs) makes him look like a prototypical mauler. He’s big, physical and plays with a nasty demeanor. He has all the attributes to be a truly dominant run blocker. But what makes him stand out, much like Hutchinson, is his surprising athleticism for an interior lineman.

Many highly-touted guards in recent years, Vince Manuwai and Deuce Lutui for example, end up falling on draft day and failing to play at an elite level in the NFL due to their lack of athleticism. While both Manuwai and Lutui flash the ability to dominate as run blockers, they’re aren’t the complete package.

On the flip side, others such as Ben Grubbs, excel as pass blockers but struggle in the running game. They have the quick feet and strong lower body to hold up against faster pass rushers and bull rushers. However, they lack the brute strength to knock guys backwards on the line of scrimmage.

Every so often a player like Steve Hutchinson or Mike Iupati comes along who appears to be able to put it all together.

At this point, the latest I could envision Iupati going would be at No. 23 to the Packers. They’ve re-signed Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton, but still need to upgrade the interior line. Iupati would provide a drastic upgrade over Daryn Colledge/Jason Spitz/T.J. Lang at left guard.

The Bengals are another strong possibility. They’ve let their best lineman from 2009, Bobbie Williams, test the free agent waters. This has opened up a gaping hole on the line, which would currently be filled by Nate Livings, who has bounced on and off the practice squad for much of his career.

Perhaps the most likely land spot is Pittsburgh, which needs an upgrade over Trai Essex. The Steelers are transitioning back into more of a power-running team with Rashard Mendenhall as the starter now, and a powerful run blocker like Iupati is needed.

Here’s a few other options:

13/17. 49ers – Guard isn’t a glaring need, but he would certainly be an upgrade over David Baas.

15. Giants – Their offensive line is getting up their in age and Jerry Reese strongly believes it taking the best available player.

14. Seahawks – Rob Sims may be traded, which would open up an immediate starting spot for Iupati.

11. Broncos – They have other needs, but if they view Iupati as the best available player he would provide their offensive line some much needed stability.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, 49ers, Bengals, Broncos, Giants, Packers, Seahawks, Steelers 1 Comment

5 popular mock draft predictions unlikely to happen

Every year draftniks fall in love with certain predictions which, on paper, make sense. But creating a mock draft isn’t always about matching up the team’s needs with the best available player at that position. You have to understand each team’s draft tendencies and try to think like their GM (or whoever it may be that’s calling the shots).

With that in mind, I’ve set out to discredit a few common mock draft predictions which likely won’t hold true on April 22.

5. Jermaine Gresham to the Bengals
The Bengals have, hands down, the worst pass-catching tight ends in the league. So in theory, adding Gresham would make a lot of sense. However, Marvin Lewis and Bob Bratkowski just don’t seem to care. They have never incorporated the tight end into the offense and I don’t see any reason why they’ll change now. Selecting Gresham would require the Bengals to abandon an offensive philosophy which has worked fairly well in recent years.

4. Russell Okung to the Lions
Adding a young offensive tackle in the 2nd or 3rd round would be a wise decision for the Lions, but its unlikely to happen with the 2nd pick. Jim Schwartz has praised Jeff Backus, and even endorsed him as a Pro Bowl candidate this past season. With all the needs the Lions have on both sides of the ball, why would Martin Mayhew and Schwartz upgrade a position that they already view as a strength?

3. Joe Haden to the Browns
Haden is the top available player at a position at which the Browns are devoid of talent. However, a rebuilding process does not start with a cornerback. The trades of Corey Williams and Kamerion Wimbley have opened up gaping holes in the Browns front seven, which is always a higher priority on draft day than the secondary. Eric Berry, due to his elite draft grade, may still be an option, but not Haden.

2. Dez Bryant to the Dolphins
Signing Karlos Dansby left the Dolphins with just one glaring area of need: receiver. Or more specifically, a big receiver. Dez Bryant is exactly what the Dophins want, but there is no way that Bill Parcells ok’s the selection of a receiver in the 1st round. He hasn’t selected one since Terry Glenn in 1996, and that selection was actually made by Robert Kraft and was a key reason why Parcells bolted after the season. Throw in Bryant’s off-field concerns and he has little chance of wearing a Dolphins uniform in 2010.

1. Bruce Campbell to the Raiders
Al Davis has made plenty of bad decisions, but this would top them all. The thought process behind this selection is that the Raiders need a left tackle and Campbell put on a performance at the Combine that is sure to catch the attention of Davis. That said, there are enough other players with legitimate 1st-round grades that Davis can probably be talked into. Jason Pierre-Paul, Taylor Mays, Trent Williams and Anthony Davis are all much closer to receiving top-10 grades and would still fit the Al Davis profile.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, Bengals, Browns, Dolphins, Lions, Raiders 1 Comment