Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 4/30/12
It used to be that Bengals drafts would be exercises in frustration but the past three have been un-Bengallike in their results. With 10 picks, they addressed key needs on offense and defense, using five on each side. Besides finding their starting right guard, they have competition on the defensive line, cornerback and tight end. They also drafted two wide receivers who will compete to start opposite A.J. Green. The draft is not flashy but they did stock themselves with some depth and got younger. In many ways, it followed the way the Ravens and Steelers have attacked past drafts. BEST PICK Guard Kevin Zeitler: The Bengals moved down six spots and also got a third-round pick from New England. They liked both David DeCastro and Zeitler but Zeitler might be a better fit because he is considered to be slightly better as a run blocker. He also gives them their starting right guard for the next five years. COULD SURPRISE Wide receiver Marvin Jones: Could be another deep threat to complement Green and he could be in the mix to return punts. A closer look at the Bengals picks: Round 117 - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, 6-2, 186, Alabama The Bengals needed to grab a young, shutdown corner in the first round and they ended up getting the last one on the board. Round 121 - Kevin Zeitler, OG, 6-3, 322, Wisconsin Barring injury, he will be the starter at right guard when the season opens. Round 253 - Devon Still, DT, 6-5, 307, Penn State A little bit of a surprise that they addressed the defensive line early but he gives the Bengals another solid pass rusher up the middle. Round 383 - Mohamed Sanu, WR, 6-1, 211, Rutgers A big need during the offseason has been to find a wide receiver to line up opposite A.J. Green. Sanu is a physical receiver who had 115 receptions last season, which was a Big East single-season record. Round 393 - Brandon Thompson, DT, 6-2, 314, Clemson He did 36 bench press reps at the combine so it is also another big, strong presence to stop the run. Round 4116 - Orson Charles, TE, 6-3, 251, Georgia Tight end was thought to be the least of the Bengals needs going into the draft but they added competition to the group with a physical blocker who also is good as a receiver. Round 5156 - Shaun Prater, CB, 5-10, 190, Iowa The group has a lot of veterans along with Kirkpatrick but Prater's biggest impact this year could come on special teams, where he was a gunner in punt coverage. Round 5166 - Marvin Jones, WR, 6-2, 199, California Pretty good size and speed, he will also be in the mix for the competition to see who starts opposite Green. Round 5167 -- George Iloka, S, 6-4, 225, Boise State Has the size and speed to match up with tight ends. There is plenty of competition for playing time with the only absolute being Reggie Nelson as one of the starters. Round 6191 - Dan "Boom" Herron, RB, 5-10, 213, Ohio State Doesn't have great speed but his strength is running between the tackles. He is another guy though whose route to the roster depends on special teams contributions. --Of the top three needs for the Cincinnati Bengals going into the draft, they filled two of them on Thursday in the first round by taking a cornerback and offensive guard. With the 17th overall pick, they selected Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. After trading with New England out of the 21st spot, they dropped to 27th and took Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler. "I think in both players they have opportunities to start and work their way into the lineup. We drafted both of them to play," head coach Marvin Lewis said. Kirkpatrick added some youth to a Bengals cornerback group that coming into the draft had one player 25 or younger. He is the sixth first-round corner, joining Hall, Nate Clements, Adam Jones, Jason Allen and Terence Newman. There is no pressure for Kirkpatrick to start right away since Hall and Clements are expected to be the starters. This is a move though that addresses an uncertain future since four of the corners have contracts that expire at the end of the season. "That's one advantage I do have. Some guys come in and play with young guys. I can come in and learn the system from veterans," Kirkpatrick said. "I'm going to learn how to manage the field, win on press coverage and how to watch film. I'm going to learn a lot from those guys." Bengals secondary coach Mark Carrier said that their scheme mirrors Alabama's in that the Crimson Tide played plenty of press coverage and also leave their cornerback on an island, leaving plenty of one-on-one coverage. Zeitler is only the second guard in team history selected in the first round but he is one of the more consistent blockers in the nation. Zeitler has also been a favorite of offensive line coach Paul Alexander's for awhile. "You will like him. He's a tough football player," Alexander said. "He's the type of guy if you went fishing you want to spend time with. Sometimes you go out on a lake and after a half hour you want to throw them in the water." Zeitler's greatest strength though is as a run blocker, which is one area where the Bengals have struggled the past couple seasons. "We've had some of the top rushing statistics throughout the country and I believe it just shows what we're able to do there," Zeitler said. "We're doing the right things here and NFL teams seem to like it." Zeitler should be in the mix for the right guard spot which currently has Otis Hudson, Clint Boling and possibly Jacob Bell. Bobbie Williams was the starter there the past eight seasons but is not expected to be re-signed. "His greatest strength is he's productive. He has enough size and versatility," Alexander said. Shipley making progress in rehab --Wide receiver Jordan Shipley is ahead of his rehabilitation schedule in coming back from a torn ACL in his left knee, but said he is hoping to be on the field sometime during OTAs. "I'm planning on doing some stuff but it depends on what they want me to do," Shipley said. "If it was up to me I would be out there." Shipley suffered the injury during last season's Week 2 loss at Denver. When asked if he would be ready for training camp, Shipley indicated he would. "I'm planning on doing all the workouts with the guys. Some days I feel really good and other days I feel close," he said. "At this point in the process it is based on how you feel that day. Some days I am 100 percent." --For the second time in franchise history, the Bengals will open the season on Monday night when they travel to Baltimore. The two teams kicked off the season on Monday night in 2007 in Cincinnati as the Bengals held on for a 27-20 win. The Bengals will have three prime-time appearances after having none last year. It is their most since 2007. They open and close the season with back-to-back division games. --Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis didn't seem too fazed about being in a new locker room. Even though he has spent the past four years in New England, Green-Ellis noted that the turnover throughout the league is the same no matter which locker room you are in. "Every year on every team there is a lot of turnover so you got to learn new guys every year no matter where you are at so that's just a part of it," he said. "I gotta get a chance to know all of those guys. A team is not built on just one day. It's got to start right here." --Besides playing for Mike Zimmer during his rookie season in Atlanta, one thing that intrigued Jamaal Anderson about coming to the Bengals was the rotation that the defensive line had in place. Of the defensive ends on the roster last season, each one was in for 40 percent or more of the Bengals' defensive plays. "I think it's very friendly to the defensive line, seeing they've had a great rotation. Jay Hayes has done a great job rotating these guys, getting them in," Anderson said. "You don't want to have your play go down once you rotate. I didn't see that level drop off from these guys. We're just going to keep rotating guys in there, and I'm going to go at it full speed and continue to make plays." QUOTE OF NOTE: "I thought our board was wide open in 2005 when we drafted David Pollack. We never thought he would get to us (at 17). Maybe there were other times. I think you try every year to go into the draft and not be locked into one position. Last year was a different circumstance." -- Coach Marvin Lewis on the draft. Strategy And PersonnelFRANCHISE PLAYER: PK Mike Nugent (tendered at 2.654 million; signed April 25). TRANSITION PLAYER: None. UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS --RB Cedric Benson has three straight 1,000-yard seasons with the Bengals but offensive coordinator Jay Gruden wants to go more with a running back by committee approach which Benson has balked at. Expect both sides to have a mutual parting of the ways. --CB Kelly Jennings was mainly the corner in nickel situations once Leon Hall went down due to injury. Considering the lack of depth in the secondary, they would like to re-sign him. --LB Brandon Johnson has been a key backup at weak-side linebacker and has been one of the top players on special teams. He is looking for a multi-year deal after three straight seasons on one-year contracts. --TE Bo Scaife spent all of last season on injured reserve after injuring his neck. He is not expected to be back. --OG Bobbie Williams went into last season with the team's longest streak of consecutive games but ended up serving four games for a violation of the league's policy on performance enhancing substances then fractured his ankle late in the season and missed the last three games. Going into his 13th year despite being entrenched at right guard, he is not a priority to re-sign. --S Gibril Wilson saw a mix of defensive and special teams snaps after missing 2010 due to a knee injury. Could be back on a one-year deal. RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None. EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None. PLAYERS RE-SIGNED --OT Anthony Collins: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown. --LS Clark Harris: RFA tendered at 1.26M with seventh-round pick as compensation); terms unknown. --DT Nick Hayden: Potential ERFA; 615,0001 yr. --CB Adam Jones: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown. --LB Manny Lawson: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown. --TE Donald Lee: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown. --S Jeromy Miles: ERFA; 540,0001 yr. --S Reggie Nelson: UFA; 18M4 yrs. --PK Mike Nugent: Franchise FA; 2.654M1 yr. --RB Cedric Peerman: Potential ERFA; 615,0001 yr, terms unknown. --FB Chris Pressley: Potential RFA; 2.1M2 yrs. --LB Vincent Rey: Potential ERFA; 450,0001 yr. --OT Dennis Roland: UFA; terms unknown. --DT Pat Sims: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown. --LB Dan Skuta: RFA tendered at 1.26M with no compensation); 1.26M1 yr. PLAYERS ACQUIRED --CB Jason Allen: UFA Texans; 8.2M2 yrs. --DE Jamaal Anderson: UFA Colts; 2 yrs, terms unknown. --OG Jacob Bell: UFA Rams; 1 yr, terms unknown. --RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis: UFA Patriots; 9M3 yrs. --DE Derrick Harvey: UFA Broncos; 1 yr, terms unknown. --CB Terence Newman: FA Cowboys; terms unknown. --OG Travelle Wharton: FA Panthers; 10M3 yrs, 3.2M guaranteed. PLAYERS LOST --WR Andre Caldwell: UFA Broncos; 1.8M2 yrs. --S Chris Crocker (released). --DE Jonathan Fanene: UFA Patriots; 12M3 yrs, 3.85M guaranteed. --OG Nate Livings: UFA Cowboys; 19M5 yrs, 6.2M guaranteed. --OG Mike McGlynn: UFA Colts; terms unknown. --CB Rico Murray (released). --LB Keith Rivers (traded Giants). --DE Frostee Rucker: UFA Browns; 21M5 yrs, 8M guaranteed. --WR Jerome Simpson: UFA Vikings; 1 yr, terms unknown.
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