Much of Bengaldom is so excited about the NFL Draft – and the two first-round picks that come with it – that they have forgotten some other important players in the 2012 season.
In addition to the first-rounders, Cincy will also welcome back Jordan Shipley, Keith Rivers (barring a salary cap cut), Dontay Moch, and Roddrick Muckelroy, after all four missed the vast majority of the previous season. Within those players, lies a potentially huge boost to a team that is already flush with young talent. All of them were drafted in the fourth round or higher.
Shipley is a sure-handed slot receiver who seemed to be developing a good chemistry with Andy Dalton before he was lost for the season. Rivers is a former first-round pick who has had some good moments as a defender and is pretty solid in pass coverage. Muckelroy was a tackle machine at the University of Texas, impressive in limited action as a rookie, and a potential starter before injuries derailed his season last year. Moch, who had impressive sack totals in college, was mentioned by Mike Zimmer as a guy who could help the defense before migraines and other ailments kept him from contributing.
It’s probably unlikely that all will emerge as big-time contributors in 2012, but if a few of them do, it will be a big boon for a blossoming team. So as the mock drafts and prognosticating continues as we approach the NFL Draft, remember one thing.
Don’t forget about the new old guys.