Published November 20, 2014
1 - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama (6-2, 186); 1 - Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin (6-4, 314); 2 - Devon Still, DT, Penn State (6-5, 303); 3 - Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers (6-2, 211); 3 - Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson (6-2, 314); 4 - Orson Charles, TE, Georgia (6-3, 251); 5 - Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa (5-10, 190); 5 - Marvin Jones, WR, California (6-2, 199); 5 - George Iloka, S, Boise State (6-4, 225); 6 - Dan Herron, RB, Ohio State (5-10, 213)
Top Pick Analysis: The Bengals were able to bring in some more competition to a crowded cornerback corps by using their choice acquired in last fall's Carson Palmer trade on Kirkpatrick, a tall and very physical cover man capable of pushing veterans Nate Clements and Jason Allen for a place on the first- team defense. Zeitler, a three-year starter at Wisconsin, is expected to be an instant regular at right guard whose power and readiness should help boost a running game that was generally mediocre a year ago. Cincinnati traded down in the first round to land the former Badger, picking up an extra third that was spent on Thompson, a thick-bodied run-stopper with tremendous natural strength that will join the team's defensive tackle rotation along with Still, who offers more pass-rush potential than his new teammate as a three-technique candidate. The 2011 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year had once been considered a first-day lock, but slipped to the No. 53 spot mainly due to motivational concerns. Sanu had a very productive three-year career at Rutgers and is physical and an accomplished route-runner who could develop into a consistent chain-moving No. 2 receiver.
Best Value Pick: Jones has experience in a West Coast offense like the Bengals employ and showed better-than-expected speed at the combine. He'll give Sanu a strong run in camp for to right to replace the outgoing Jerome Simpson in the starting lineup.
Questionable Calls: All three current starters at linebacker and two of the top three defensive ends are scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency next season, but the Bengals didn't take a player at any of those positions.
Summary: Cincinnati was able to successfully build on its talent base with an excellent overall haul. All five of the Bengals' selections over the first three rounds have a chance to contribute immediately in some form, and there are also possible sleepers in Jones and Iloka, a tall and rangy safety with starting potential.
FINAL GRADE: A-