Bengals Reached for Kevin Zeitler
Published May 2, 2012
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
The Cincinnati Bengals have gotten very positive reviews for their 2012 NFL Draft class. That is understandable and deserved with where they landed some of their mid-round picks. The Bengals were able to land defensive tackles Devon Still and Brandon Thompson along with wide receiver Mohamed Sanu on Day 2. Still was a potential first-round pick who Cincinnati acquired at No. 53 overall. Thompson was considered to be a second-round prospect, yet they snagged him with No. 93 at the end of the third round.
Cincinnati acquired that selection from New England after it traded down in the first round from No. 21 to No. 27. Sanu was another potential second-rounder whom the Bengals grabbed late, using the No. 83 selection during the third round. All three of those players were excellent value picks for the team.
The Bengals continued the trend on the final day of the draft. They took tight end Orson Charles in the fourth round and landed three good picks in the fifth with cornerback Shaun Prater, wide receiver Marvin Jones and safety George Iloka. All three of those players could have been selected earlier, especially Jones and Iloka.
While Cincinnati really did well with those seven players, there is one reach that stands out, and that is in the first round. The Bengals snagged guard Kevin Zeitler with the 27th pick after trading down with the Patriots. If Cincinnati had stayed at No. 21, the team could have landed the top guard in the draft, David DeCastro. Many considered him to be the top guard prospect to enter the NFL in the past decade.
Instead of taking DeCastro, Cincinnati moved down with New England and saw the rival Steelers grab DeCastro. The Bengals will have their hands full with DeCastro combining with Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey to lead Pittsburgh's rushing attack for years to come. The DeCastro-Pouncey tandem will also make it extremely difficult to get any pass rush up the middle of the Steelers' line.
Meanwhile, Zeitler was projected to go in the second round, and there was a huge drop off from DeCastro to the Wisconsin guard. The Bengals also could have traded down and probably have still landed him. Minnesota and Tampa Bay were trying to move up back into the first round and eventually were successful. Even if Cincinnati missed out on Zeitler, it would've had its choice of guards in Cordy Glenn (No. 41 to Buffalo) and Amini Silatolu (No. 40 to Carolina). In speaking with another NFL team, they had a second-round grade on Zeitler, so by both their draft board and the consensus draft board, he was a reach.
Overall, it was a good draft for the Bengals, but it would look better if they had taken DeCastro as a first-round pick (along with Dre Kirkpatrick) rather than acquiring Zeitler and Thompson in the trade down.
It will be interesting to see how DeCastro's career compares to that of Zeitler and Thompson in the years to come. One can be sure that the Steelers and Bengals fans will be paying attention to the comparison.