Adding Dre Kirkpatrick and Kevin Zeitler to the Bengals’ family is not going to win a lot of headlines. They picked too low to grab one of the true elite players, and the media is never going to gush over a guard.
But winning the news cycle and winning NFL games are not the same thing.
Going into the draft, most of us would have identified the two biggest needs to address as corner and guard. Obviously the coaches agreed because they snagged a corner and a guard.
Despite my preference for Gilmore (who I thought — or maybe just hoped — would come down to the Bengals), Kirkpatrick brings some much-needed youth and strength to a position group that has been reeling from the loss of Johnathan Joseph and the injury to Leon Hall. Hopefully he soaks in all he can from being around all of the experienced former first round picks that the Bengals have amassed.
Zeitler was not the guy I expected, but with the capacity to be the backup center, I should have. Wisconsin is a factory for tough, solid linemen. Zeitler likely has the inside track for being the starter next to Andre Smith, bolstering protection for Andy Dalton from guys like Philip Taylor and opening holes for BJGE and Bernard Scott (and Isaiah Pead?).
Congrats to our man Eric for nailing the #17 pick. Well done, sir!