Draft Grades Are Dumb, But Here They Are Anyway.

Mel Kiper, ESPN.com....
Ultimately, the talent here could win out over the risk, but this draft hinges on whether Ross stays healthy and Mixon lives up to his promise to stay out of the kind of situations that made him such a controversial selection.

Chris Burke, SI.com...
If this draft class is to be believed, the Bengals’ offense will look very, very different in 2017. They spent picks No. 9 (WR John Ross), 41 (RB Joe Mixon) and 128 (WR Josh Malone) on players who should help them open things up—Ross, in particular, will handle that duty opposite A.J. Green. Cincinnati might spread the field and throw a lot—that is, when Andy Dalton is not handing off to Mixon. The Oklahoma product comes with troubling baggage, so we’ll see if he can walk the straight and narrow enough to show off his brilliant talent. Help for the D-line came in the form of edge guys Jordan Willis (No. 73) and Carl Lawson (No. 116), as well as interior space-eater Ryan Glasgow (No. 138).

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports....
I thought the Bengals had as good draft as any team in the league. Taking receiver John Ross with the ninth pick is a bit of a risk, but you can't coach speed. They took a different type of risk with Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon in the second round, but the kid is the best runner in the draft. They clearly looked past the assault video to take him. They then landed two good pass rushers in Kansas State Jordan Willis and Auburn's Carl Lawson, two players who will compete to start at right end. Fourth-round receiver Josh Malone from Tennessee can fly. There are some risks here, but I think they will pay off big.

Nate Davis, USA Today...
Their risk-laden draft will ultimately be defined by the chance they’ve taken on second-round RB Joe Mixon. Setting his well-known issues aside, Cincy might have hit the lottery in terms of football merit. A multi-dimensional talent, Mixon could emerge as this draft's best back and may not take long to overtake Jeremy Hill, a free agent in 2018. First-round WR John Ross can affect every play, with or without the ball, courtesy of his field-stretching 4.22-second 40 speed – assuming, of course, he can outrun concerns about his injury history and diminutive stature (5-11, 188). Mid-round selections Jordan Willis, Carl Lawson and Ryan Glasgow upgrade defensive depth at minimum, and Willis has a chance to make a bigger splash. Even Round 5 K Jake Elliott will be welcomed a year after Mike Nugent's misadventures.

Joseph Zucker, Bleacher Report...
The selection of Joe Mixon casts a shadow over Bengals' entire draft. Bengals got great value otherwise but taking Mixon in the second round sends a terrible message.

Chad Reuter, NFL.com...
Ross is a talented, extremely fast receiver (4.22 40), but given Ross' injury history, it's tough not to consider that when making him a top-10 pick. Nonetheless, adding Ross to play alongside A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert makes quarterback Andy Dalton smile. It wasn't a surprise to see Joe Mixon land in Cincinatti, given that they've taken on players with character concerns before. Jordan Willis fell to the middle of the third round, and the Bengals took full advantage. He's a damn fine player who should have went earlier.

Dan Kadar, SB Nation...

The Bengals again selected a talented player with question marks in linebacker Carl Lawson; his injuries and inconsistency made him fall, but as a designated pass rusher he'll be just fine. Adding speedy receiver Josh Malone to Mixon and Ross makes the team dangerous; Andy Dalton is a happy man. They went with a solid football player in Glasgow in the late fourth; he could play offensive (like his brother, Graham) or defensive line. Getting a reliable kicker was a good move in the fifth round, and J.J. Dielman will be a long-time pro who can play anywhere on the offensive line.

Everyone expected the Bengals to come out of this draft with speed at receiver, and boy did they ever. Their draft started with Washington speed demon wide receiver John Ross, the No. 9 overall pick. If he can stay healthy, he adds a new dimension to the offense. The Bengals got another speed receiver in the fourth round in Tennessee’s Josh Malone. Cincinnati should be fine if A.J. Green gets hurt again.

The Bengals dropped a bombshell in the second round by picking Joe Mixon. On the field, he’s one of the draft’s three best running backs. If he stays out of trouble, he could be one of the steals of the draft. The Bengals waited until the 73rd overall pick to get the pass rusher they needed in Jordan Willis of Kansas State. Then they doubled up on edge rushers by taking Auburn’s Carl Lawson in the fourth round. If even just one of the two becomes a viable starter, I like the strategy.

Cincinnati took the first specialist of the draft with Memphis kicker Jake Elliott. This was a pick the Bengals had to make. Whether or not they should have gone with Zane Gonzalez of Arizona State, we’ll see.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News...
The best thing to say about the rebuilding Bengals is that Glasgow is a good value ... out of 11 picks. Ross was a reach, and Lawson was a free-faller. Both come in with durability issues. Willis is better suited to be a 3-4 edge rusher. They didn’t need a second wideout in Malone, either, and Elliott was taken too early.

About Mixon: For a non-glaring need because of Jeremy Hill and a recovering Giovani Bernard, he’s not worth that kind of backfield risk in the second round. The backlash is bound to make that pick backfire. Between Mixon, Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict, the Bengals are unrelenting in ignoring controversy.

Mo Egger

Mo Egger

Mo Egger delivers his unique take on sports on Cincinnati's ESPN 1530! Read more


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