Cincinnati Bengals 2012 NFL Draft Review

Dre Kirkpatrick

Wow is a word that is spelled the same forwards and backwards – it is also the best word to describe the Bengals’ draft. Cincinnati was a playoff team in 2011 and put their foot on the gas heading into the 2012 season. Seven unrestricted free agents were signed as well as seven rostered players. Put those 14 together with back-to-back productive drafts, and the Bengals may go to the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1981 and 1982. Dre Kirkpatrick sat out of OTAs due to a groin injury. He is currently backing up Nate Clements at left corner. The Alabama shutdown corner is one of several offseason additions to fill holes in the secondary. Fearless on run support, he has quick reactions to run reads, get upfield, and force the action. He doesn’t lunge, but plays with his feet under him. Early in mini-camp he struggled, but he is a tough corner who will freelance at times. With Kirkpatrick you must accept the bad along with the good. The Bengals moved down six spots and picked up a third round pick where they drafted Kevin Zeitler. He was drafted to fill a gaping hole at right guard. He was as impressive as a lineman in shorts could be in mini-camp, holding his own in one-on-one pass protection drills. Cincy needed help upfront and this is a guy who can provide it. Devon Still is a talented defensive tackle who had an inconsistent senior year. He was considered a flash player during his two years as a starter. He is a good athlete with long arms and big hands for the position. The Bengals stuck with the best player available philosophy even though the position was not a pressing need. Still will give Geno Atkins a break on run downs. Mohamed Sanu stood out at the Bengals’ first rookie mini-camp practices and may prove to be the perfect complement to AJ Green. Armon Binns will be Sanu’s main competition for the starting job. The versatile receiver plays faster than timed. He is a strong, run after catch receiver with excellent hands. His 210 career catches are a Big East record. Brandon Thompson played both inside tackle spots in a rotation where he was always fresh. A blue collar interior player who is thick and powerful in the upper and lower body, he has a huge butt and thighs to help him anchor and stack a double team. Thompson will have his work cut out for him to break into the front rotation with Domata Peko and Pat Sims in the mix. Orson Charles is undersized by NFL tight end standards, but is athletic and can create mismatches in different alignments. He doesn’t get held up on the line of scrimmage and is a stronger blocker than advertised. He has experience as a lead blocker and H-back. Shaun Prater will make his name first on special teams’ coverage units. He is a competitive, tough, and reactive corner with good field awareness. He plays with quick feet and body control and is not afraid to support the run. Marvin Jones was a steal in the fifth round and should compete for the number three receiving position. He gains separation with his route savvy and deceptive speed. Talented enough to win the one-on-one battles and run through a tackler, he does an excellent job of controlling his body and his feet. George Iloka will compete with last year’s fifth round choice, Robert Sands, for the backup free safety position behind Reggie Nelson. The rangy athlete has corner experience and won’t turn down a big hit. Despite his angular build, he has quick feet and plays with good balance. Dan Herron is a power back with quickness and a strong lower body. Quick enough to make a defender miss in the open field, he is somewhat of a straight line runner with quick feet. He only played in seven games last season due to “Tattoo-Gate”. GRADE: VERY GOOD.

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