The 2018 NFL Draft is in the books, so check out the Cincinnati Bengals 2018 NFL Draft class and the grades given to them by major publications. Many felt that the Bengals had the best two picks in the third round with DE Sam Hubbard and LB Malik Jefferson. Here's how they fared in the draft grades given by major publications:
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"There may not be a Pro Bowler among C Billy Price, S Jessie Bates, DE Sam Hubbard, LB Malik Jefferson or RB Mark Walton. Yet all could quickly contribute for a franchise that generally doesn't get enough recognition for drafting effectively. "
"I could argue that I ranked another center higher than Billy Price where the Bengals took him at No. 21, but what I can't argue is that they had to get a starting center in this draft. And my evaluations of Price and Iowa's James Daniels were close, so this isn't a reach. Cincinnati had one of the league's worst offensive lines in 2017. It has already addressed left tackle with the addition of Cordy Glenn, and I thought the Bengals might try to add some more tackle competition for the right side. But Price is a good player who I thought would drop to Round 2 because of a torn pectoral muscle at the combine. Clearly, Marvin Lewis & Co. think he can be a plug-and-play center, and they need it after Russell Bodine left this offseason.
After the first round, the Bengals did a good job not reaching and taking the best players available. Jessie Bates III (pick 54) is a good player with upside. I have compared Sam Hubbard (77) to Rob Ninkovich as a Swiss Army knife-type player with versatility. He wasn't as productive last season as I thought he might be. Malik Jefferson (78) is a true 4-3 outside linebacker who was inconsistent for the Longhorns. I heard from a few guys in the league before the 2017 season that he was a potential first-round pick, but I didn't see that on tape. Running back Mark Walton (112) had a disappointing 4.60 40 time, and an ankle injury hurt him last season. I wrote about cornerback Darius Phillips (170) during the season, and thought he was a potential playmaker who could play in the slot. He had three pick-sixes in 2016. I compared quarterback Logan Woodside (249) to Case Keenum, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him make this roster."
"Though the Cincinnati Bengals haven't been able to take the next step as a franchise because of an overly frugal front office, they've been one of the better drafting teams over the last decade when it comes to finding value in the middle rounds. They did it again, landing multiple players who can see the field right away and several others who can be long-term answers. It started with center Billy Price in the first round.
Price will immediately start and boost what was a porous unit in 2017. Day 2 defenders Jessie Bates, Sam Hubbard and Malik Jefferson are all solid athletes who can assume at least rotational roles this season. Bates will be an athletic upgrade on Shawn Williams but can also be a third safety in dime packages. Hubbard is the heir apparent to strong-side end Carlos Dunlap because of his size and run-stuffing ability. Jefferson is especially intriguing as a Vontaze Burfict replacement, although he's always been more of a raw athlete playing the position as opposed to a finished product.
The Bengals may not get much out of their Day 3 picks for a few years, but they've excelled at bringing along developmental players to start in the future. Running back Mark Walton is talented enough to become a rotational back, while defensive tackle Andrew Brown and Darius Phillips were accomplished collegiate players worth a flier. If there's one complaint about this class, it's that the Bengals didn't add a quarterback who could actually push Andy Dalton as a starter in the future."
"It seems like the Bengals always take name players in the draft, and this year was no different. After missing out on center Frank Ragnow by a pick, the Bengals took Ohio State’s Billy Price in the second round. Price is never going to blow you away with athleticism, but he’s an aggressive and powerful blocker.
The Bengals picked apart the second day of the draft, getting a few starters. Safety Jessie Bates III is one of the draft’s best coverage safeties. He’s the type of safety the Bengals needed for the back of their secondary. Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard slid further than expected, but he’s a versatile player with good athleticism. A pick later, linebacker Malik Jefferson gives the Bengals another good athlete. Are you seeing a theme here for Cincinnati’s defense?
Running back Mark Walton of Miami, picked in the fourth round, was a good move as well. He should push Joe Mixon for carries."
"When you consider how the Bengals allowed their offensive line to fall apart, it’s hard to rip the pick of center Billy Price in the first. They just have to hope Price, who tore a pectoral muscle at the combine, is all the way back by the start of the season. They also picked up left tackle Cordy Glenn from the Bills in a pre-draft trade, moving back nine spots in the first round. Safety Jessie Bates should help at free safety right away. Defensive end Sam Hubbard and outside linebacker Malik Jefferson add athleticism to the front seven, though Hubbard’s lack of production at Ohio State is a concern. Mark Walton was presumably the highest player left on Cincinnati’s board when they grabbed him in the fourth, and Auden Tate is an interesting dart throw in the seventh. If one of the mid-round corners pans out, it helps a solid draft."
"For the Bengals, drafting an interior offensive lineman was like having terrible vision and then getting glasses—the need was so obvious, it was just a matter of what style they preferred. Billy Price will almost certainly start as a rookie, likely ahead of center T.J. Johnson. Cincinnati could still use a right guard ... too bad there wasn’t another Billy Price available in Rounds 2 or 3. The O-line must start generating at least SOME movement in the running game, and QB Andy Dalton is dependent on having a clean platform from which to throw because of inconsistent pocket mobility.
The Bengals restocked defensive depth in the middle rounds, drafting safety Jessie Bates, end Sam Hubbard and linebacker Malik Jefferson. That replenished depth is extra critical this year because every noted front-seven contributor’s contract, save for Vontaze Burfict’s, Jordan Willis’s and Carl Lawson’s, expires after 2018. Bates will replace Shawn Williams, who is better suited as a movable safety in sub-packages, but that transition may take a year to unfold, given that new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin’s two-deep scheme places a lot of mental burden on safeties."Back to the Cincinnati Bengals Newsfeed