The Cincinnati Bengals will be completely revamped at the quarterback and wide receiver positions as Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens are going to be gone when the season starts up. The Bengals addressed both of the these needs with picks in the first two rounds. The team hopes to bring back Cedric Benson to carry the load in the run first attack but it would be nice to finally see Benard Scott get a chance to shine. Thankfully for the Bengals, Palmer was the one who wanted to get out of town which is good thing considering is play has been sub-par. Cincinnati does return Jerome Simpson who emerged in the last few games of 2010, Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Gresham as weapons for their new quarterback. I will breakdown their new additions to the roster in this draft recap.
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1st Round (4th Overall) - A.J. Green - WR
Green should have instant impact taking over for Chad Johnson. He is great playmaker with excellent hands. Green's one of the most polished receivers to come out in the draft in a while. The Bengals will likely be a run first team which will hurt is production early on but will still be the top rookie WR next season and should finish in the Top 20 overall.
2nd Round (35th Overall)- Andy Dalton - QB
Dalton should be an immediate upgrade over Carson Palmer. He has a slightly above average arm strength but the intangibles to be a successful NFL QB. Dalton will have an adjustment period in his first season due to learning an NFL offense. This will lead to just average numbers at best due to inexperience and a run first mentality by the Bengals.
4th Round (101st Overall) - Clint Boling - OL
Boling has experience at playing all over the line which help add immediate depth to the offensive line. He succeeds based on technique and his will which is nice get for a mid-round draft pick. Boling should at least be a long time back-up in the league if not a regular starter down the road.
6th Round (167th Overall) - Ryan Whalen - WR
Whalen is a solid character guy out of Stanford with a good head on his shoulders. He does not however possess the physical tools to be a fantasy contributor in the NFL at the wide receiver position. Whalen lacks speed to separate in man coverage but does have good body control to make difficult catches which is necessary when you can't get open. He will likely be able to contribute on special teams.
7th Round (246th Overall) - Jay Finley - RB
Finley was highly productive when healthy last season at Baylor but seems to suffer from some leg injuries from time to time. He will have to battle to make the team but if for some reason Cedric Benson is not brought back then he could be a guy to keep an eye on if he can make the roster. Finley has some decent speed and ability to run a bit in between the tackles if needed.
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The Bengals made it a priority to fill some glaring holes at the skill positions. Green was a great pick and Dalton was a solid pick as speculation was that he was moving up into the first round of the draft. The selection of Whalen does not thrill me for his lack of upside but added some lineman depth was good. The offense could be much improved if Dalton turns out to be the prospect they had hope. His leadership and early play will be the final determination though on if things are better in 2011.
Grade = B+