With the NFL season officially in the books, but now is a wonderful time to reflect on the 2015 NFL Draft. While the true career arcs of these players won't be known for years to come, we do have an idea of which way the teams' draft classes are trending.
The Cincinnati Bengals didn't give a lot of playing time to their rookies because they weren't forced to do so. Their roster didn't have any major holes and they drafted to help build the future of the franchise, something that still looks promising. As a result, the production wasn't really there this year. With that in mind, let's review and breakdown the Bengals' 2015 draft class.
OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M - Round 1, Pick #21
Cincinnati drafting Ogbuehi knowing that he wouldn't be available to play until late in the season, and they didn't need him this year. He appeared only in five games this season because of that, though he still has a lot of promise going forward. If Andre Smith leaves, Ogbuehi could start at RT next year. For more on the Bengals, download the Chat Sports Android and iPhone app.
OT Jake Fisher, Oregon - Round 2, Pick #53
TE Tyler Kroft, Rutgers - Round 3, Pick #85
LB Paul Dawson, TCU - Round 3, Pick #99
Like Ogbuehi, Fisher was drafted as a tackle of the future for the Bengals. It was a value pick at the time, as many thought Fisher could go in Round 1. He played well this season, appearing in 15 games while earning one start. He even made appered as an eligbile tackle, catching one pass for five yards. Kroft played well when starting TE Tyler Eifert was injured. He caught 14 passes for 129 yards and a TD in limited time. Dawson didn't make much of an impact, but he holds promise as LB. His role could increase next year.
CB Josh Shaw, USC - Round 4, Pick #120
DE Marcus Hardison, Arizona State - Round 4, Pick #135
TE C.J. Uzomah, Auburn - Round 5, Pick #157
FS Derron Smith, Frenso State - Round 6, Pick #197
WR Mario Alford, West Virginia - Round 7, Pick #238
Shaw managed to make a slight impact, although injuries to the secondary forced him into playing time sooner than the staff would have liked. Shaw can also play safety if need, and profiles as a verstaile piece in the secondary. Hardison made the team, but never saw the field. That could change next year. Uzomah, Smith and Alford made the roster, but barely played. Alford could see more time next year if the Bengals lose either Mohammed Sanu and/or Marvin Jones. He could take over Brandon Tate as well as the team's backup WR and return man.
The Bengals draft class hasn't made their impact yet, and they likely won't for a little bit. The grade really shouldn't change much, as the Bengals picked up Bs from most experts. Impact wasn't the goal with the class, although it still profiles as a solid one. This is the type of class that we'll revisit in a few years and have a vastly better idea of if it was a succes.
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