Numbers-wise, the Bengals more than got their share in the draft. As for quality, hope springs eternal. Time will tell.
Cincinnati – One little, two little, three little Bengals…
Four little, five little, six little Bengals …
Seven little, eight little, nine little Bengals …
Ten little Bengals draft picks.
That’s right, folks. Ten was the magic number for the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2012 NFL Draft, a three-day extravaganza that opened Thursday night and closed on Saturday at Radio City Music Hall in the Manhattan borough of New York City.
The final count: Two cornerbacks, two defensive tackles, two wide receivers, one guard, one tight end, one free safety and one tailback.
The Bengals added five players on offense and five on defense — four from the Big Ten, two from the SEC and one each from the Big East, ACC, Pac-10 and Mountain West.
And the final player picked by the Bengals — Ohio State’s Daniel “Boom” Herron in the sixth round — is more like an answer to a trivia question.
The 5-foot-10, 213-pound tailback becomes the first Buckeye drafted by the Bengals since 1994 when Cincinnati selected the OSU duo of defensive tackle Dan “Big Daddy” Wilkinson in the first round and fullback Jeff Cothran in the third round.
This marks a huge second chance for Herron, who was one of five Buckeyes implicated in a scandal involving a tattoo-parlor owner in Columbus that triggered coach Jim Tressel’s resignation and major NCAA penalties.
Herron will compete with “The Law Firm” — BenJarvus Green-Ellis — and Bernard Scott for playing time in a tailback-by-committee format after the Bengals decided to part ways with Cedric Benson, who exited as a free agent following the 2011 season.
After the Bengals drafted Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and Wisconsin right guard Kevin Zeitler in Thursday’s first round, they improved their defensive line and receiving corps on Friday by sandwiching Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu between defensive tackles Devon Still (Penn State) and Brandon Thompson (Clemson).
Still, whose cousin is former NFL great Art Still, grew up a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Now he gets to play against them.
“Every time I saw (the Bengals), their defense caused the other team problems,” Still said. “Just to be a man on the defense and rotation, hopefully I can give them what they need to get them to the Super Bowl.”
While Still and Thompson bring run-stuffing and pass-rushing ability, Sanu is expected to claim the No. 2 receiver role opposite superstar A.J. Green now that Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell are gone — to Minnesota and Denver, respectively.
But hold on … there’s somebody else in the mix. He’s wideout Marvin Jones of Cal-Berkeley, one of three picks in the fifth round along with Iowa cornerback Shaun Prater and Boise State free safety George Iloka.
“(Jones) was one of the guys I highlighted in the receiver group and is a guy that you want on your squad,” head coach Marvin Lewis said. “As we went through the stuff and got the readings from coaches and scout grades, we saw size, speed and versatility at Cal. He could return punts, play inside or outside, and we wanted to bring him in to challenge the guys we have on our roster now. He brings some young legs and some young depth to our team.”
Saturday was reserved for the fourth through seventh rounds, and the day began with the Bengals making a surprise pick — Georgia tight end Orson Charles.
Cincinnati already has a Pro Bowl tight end in Jermaine Gresham, but Charles — a consensus first-team All-SEC pick in 2011 — was too good to pass up.
The NFL is a copycat league and the Bengals just copied New England. The Patriots utilize a one-two punch in tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. The Bengals will do the same with Gresham and Charles.
Cincinnati didn’t draft a linebacker, but certainly took care of that in the immediate aftermath. The Bengals reeled in numerous undrafted college free agents (CFAs), including Arizona State middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict, Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen and UCLA safety Tony Dye.
Iloka, the largest safety in the draft (6-4, 225), played on “The Blue” FieldTurf at Bronco Stadium in Boise.
The Bengals just installed a new artificial surface at Paul Brown Stadium. But it’s not blue.
“Oh, man,” Iloka said. “I’m on to greener pastures.”
Just like every one of his new teammates.
BENGALS 2012 DRAFT PICKS
1a (No. 17) — CB Dre Kirkpatrick (6-1, 186), Alabama
1b (No. 27) —RG Kevin Zeitler (6-4, 314), Wisconsin
2 (No. 53) — DT Devon Still (6-5, 303), Penn State
3a (No. 83) — WR Mohamed Sanu (6-2, 211), Rutgers
3b (No. 93) — DT Brandon Thompson (6-2, 314), Clemson
4 (No. 116) — TE Orson Charles (6-2, 251), Georgia
5a (No. 156) — CB Shaun Prater (5-10, 190), Iowa
5b (No. 166) — WR Marvin Jones (6-1, 199), California
5c (No. 167) — FS George Iloka (6-4, 225), Boise State
6 (No. 191) — TB Dan “Boom” Herron (5-10, 213), Ohio State