Cincinnati Bengals 2014 NFL Draft Review
1 (24) - Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State; 2 (55) - Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU; 3 (88) Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia; 4 (111) Russell Bodine, OC, North Carolina; 5 (164) - A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama; 6 (212) - Marquis Flowers, OLB, Arizona; 7 (239) - James Wright, WR, LSU; 7 (252) - Lavelle Westbrooks, CB, Georgia Southern
Top Pick Analysis: The Bengals had a very productive draft, standing pat at No. 24 and landing what some believe was the best cornerback in the draft, Michigan State press-corner star Darqueze Dennard.
Beefing up the cornerback position was a key for Cincy because Leon Hall is coming off an Achilles injury and Terence Newman will be 36 by next season.
The Bengals were on to something last year at running back by teaming the explosive Giovani Bernard with chain-mover BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The "Law Firm" will be 29 in July, however, so Cincinnati snared his heir apparent in the second round, LSU 235-pounder Jeremy Hill.
Third-round defensive end Will Clarke, meanwhile, had the length the Bengals are looking for and will help replace Michael Johnson, who fled to Tampa Bay in free agency.
Best Value Pick: Offensive lineman Russell Bodine, a fourth-round choice out of North Carolina, can play all three interior positions and could eventually push Trevor Robinson at center.
Questionable Calls: The Bengals have made the playoffs for three consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history, a run that began with the arrival of Andy Dalton at the quarterback position. The "Red Rifle" hasn't been able to get it done in the postseason, however, and until he does the pressure will continue to mount.
Getting high-profile Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who many had rated as a potential second- or third-round choice, in the fifth round may seem like a prudent move but it could also turn up some unnecessary heat on Dalton.
Summary: It's rare you can get a talent like Dennard at a need position with the 24th pick so that will help immensely. Cincinnati followed that with a number of logical choices and the McCarron pick could even prove fruitful down the line
FINAL GRADE: B+
Undrafted rookie free agent signings: WR Alex Neutz, Buffalo; DL/FB Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest; FB Ryan Hewitt, Stanford; RB James Wilder Jr., Florida State; G Trey Hopkins, Texas; TE Colin Lockett, San Diego State; OL Kevin Palmer, Baylor; S Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State; OL Dan France, Michigan State; RB Jeff Scott, Ole Miss; OT Curtis Feigt, West Virginia University; DE James Davidson, UTEP
May 13, 2014, at 10:53 AM ET
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