The Bengals did a solid, even if not glitzy, job with the first round of the draft. I also believe that, so far, they have done the best job within the AFC North. Do you agree?
1.3: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
The Browns surrendered a 4th and a 6th round pick to the Vikes to move up one spot to insure that they got the guy they wanted in Richardson. But with 13 picks this year (8 of them on Day 3), losing a pair of Day 3 picks has minimal impact.
If there is somewhere that talent goes to die, it’s Cleveland. Richardson may well be running uphill on this one. But he may be strong enough to make a good impact on a running game that has been atrocious. Bengals fans very well may be cursing his name for the next several years.
1.22: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
Holmgren and Heckert sold out Colt McCoy, who had zilch around him to work with in the last two years. But now that they at least have the threat of a running game, they are tossing him on the trash heap.
The real problem, though, is that they didn’t really get better at QB. At best, replacing McCoy with Weeden is a push. Weeden now has to go through the learning curve that McCoy has gone through. For me, that makes this an absolute waste of a pick.
1.24: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
The Steelers have been criticized for their O-line for a few years now. But after taking Pouncey last year and now DeCastro, they are turning a weakness into a strength. Could this signal a return to the Steelers’ signature run-first style that they have abandoned over the last couple of years?
DeCastro fits the Steelers’ style well, and they may well have been surprised to see him slide all the way to them at #24. As much as we hate that he will be wearing that stupid bumble bee throwback uni, it was a great pick for them.
Baltimore traded out of the first round, sending pick #29 to the Vikings for pick #35 and a 4th round pick. Conventional wisdom says that the Ravens will take Cordy Glenn (to replace Ben Grubbs) or Courtney Upshaw (to replace Jarret Johnson).
1.17: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The fact that Kirkpatrick had no picks in 2011 concerns plenty of people. But judging him on that stat alone is short-sighted. His strength will be in getting receivers out of their routes, which is useful in a league where passing is largely predicated on timing, rather than staying on a guy’s hip. He likes to jump routes, and he loves to bring the wood. He is not a perfect CB, but he will be a solid addition to the backfield that plays behind a tough D-line.
1.27: Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
Let’s move past the overly simple notion that because DeCastro was the highest rated OG, he was the only OG worth having. (Didn’t SanFran pass on Stephen Hill to take A.J. Jenkins?) It’s all about getting a guy who fits the system, and the coaches were clearly comfortable that Zeitler fit their system as well as (or almost as well as) DeCastro… close enough that his ability to also be the backup center made him equal to or better than DeCastro in their opinion.
Did you know that Zeitler did not allow a sack in his three years at Wisconsin? ZERO.
If you are still mad at the war room for letting DeCastro slip away, I ask this of you: before passing final judgment, wait and see who the Bengals get tonight with NE’s former pick (#93). Remember, this was not a one-for-one move. We need to weigh DeCastro against Zeitler and whomever they get at #93. The odds are good that the combined value of Zeitler plus #93 outwieghs DeCastro alone.
Caveat: Despite the slightly lower grade, I give the Bengals the win for the round, simply because two B+ is better than one A-.