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Bengals Gab Grades the Teams Picks in the 2011 Draft

By Abe Munch

1st- A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
2nd- Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
3rd- Dontay Moch, LB, Nevada
4th- Clint Boling, OG, Georgia
5th- Robert Sands, S, West Virginia
6th- Ryan Whalen, WR, Stanford
7th- Korey Lindsay, CB, Southern Illinois
7th- Jay Finley, RB, Baylor

Synopsis: The Bengals were able to get plenty of production from their 2010 draft class and are hoping for similar results to be found in this year’s crop of players. Carson Palmer has promised to retire unless he’s released and it’s likely that Chad Ochocinco will not return. With that in mind Cincinnati brought in their replacements early and added depth through the next five rounds.

Best Selection: A.J. Green. Green is the prototype wide receiver and can run all the routes from high to low. He was one of the premier prospects available in this class and it only made sense for Cincinnati to select him with the loss of Terrell Owens and likely departure of Chad Ochocinco.

Biggest Risk: Andy Dalton. If Dalton is expected to be an immediate replacement to Palmer, fans of the Bengals may be disappointed with the initial results. I saw plenty of work from Dalton the past two years and I’m still surprised he was drafted at the top of the second round. He didn’t throw a complete passing tree at TCU, struggles with zip on his throws down the seam or to the opposite side over 15 yards, has trouble seeing the whole field, and didn’t take many snaps from center or read defenses from a center exchange while settling in a drop. He definitely has the intangibles to develop into a serviceable starter, I just didn’t see him being an early franchise quarterback. One positive is he’s playing in a west coast offense, which will definitely highlight his strengths.

Sleeper: Jay Finley. Finley has a strong and compact build and is willing to run through tackles in tight areas. He shows deceptive speed and quickness and could be a great rotational player behind Cedric Benson.

Grade: B-

I feel the Bengals are headed in the right direction, and while I wasn’t as high on Andy Dalton as some, he’s in a system that suits him with enough weapons around him to find success. Ryan Whalen should be a sure-handed slot receiver and Dontay Moch is a good football player but may lack a true position.

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