Football Memo

AFC North Draft Grades: Cincinnati Bengals

Darqueze Dennard

Cornerback Darqueze Dennard

Cincinnati Bengals
I think the Bengals planned on taking a cornerback with its first selection, but never imagined Darqueze Dennard would be available. Dennard is everything you want in a football player. He tackles, covers and competes through the whistle. I think Dennard will go through some struggles early, but will also come up with his share of plays. He has the perfect mindset to be a cornerback: He loves to compete, doesn’t want to give up an inch … and if you beat him, he’s coming right back at you on the next play. I love this player. The Bengals surprised many, including myself, by selecting running back Jeremy Hill in the second round. It’s not that Hill isn’t worth the 55th-overall selection – I actually had him ranked much higher – it’s that I didn’t expect the Bengals to address running back that early. Looking at it today, I like the pick. I think Hill was the best back in this draft. He’s big, but has good acceleration and speed. He also is a good receiver, and could push Benjarvus Green-Ellis out the door. Hill could join Giovanni Bernard to form a formidable two-back attack in Cincinnati. The Bengals used the remainder of their draft on adding depth at need areas. Defensive end Will Clarke was added in the third round. Clarke is a long, rangy athlete, and could help fill the hole left when Michael Johnson departed for Tampa Bay in free agency. Center Russell Bodine (4th round) is a technically-sound player that can also fit in at guard. In the fifth round, the Bengals picked Alabama quarterback, A.J. McCarron, who will add depth and possibly turn up the heat on starter Andy Dalton.
Grade: B-

Cincinnati Bengals – 2014 Draft Selections
1 (24) Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
2 (55) Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
3 (88) Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia
4 (111) Russell Bodine, C, North Carolina
5 (164) A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
6 (212) Marquis Flowers, LB, Arizona
7 (239) James Wright, WR, LSU
7 (252) Lavelle Westbrooks, DB, Georgia Southern

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