Broncos 2012 Opponents Progress - AFC North - The Bengals

A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals catches a pass while defended by Johnathan Joseph of the Houston Texans during the NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Rolling on with number three out of four post draft previews of the AFC North Division, we come to the Cincinnati Bengals, who our Denver Broncos are scheduled to play in November during Week 9 of the 2012 season. The Bengals finished 3rd in the AFC North Division with a record of 9-7. They made it to the postseason, but lost to the Houston Texans 10-31 in the Wild Card game. Lets take a peek and see what they did to improve on their 2011 campaign

Cincinnati Bengals

Cincy ranked 18th in points scored (21.5), 20th in passing (208.8) and 19th in rushing (111.1) last season. Consequently they were 9th in points against (20.2), 9th against the pass (211.6), 10th defending the run (104.7). The Bengals had a higher need to address their Offense this offseason.

Franchise Player
Place Kicker Mike Nugent signed his tender on April 25th at $2.654 million.

Players Lost

WR Andre Caldwell: UFA Broncos; $1.8M/2 yrs.
S Chris Crocker (released).
DE Jonathan Fanene: UFA Patriots; $12M/3 yrs, $3.85M guaranteed.
OG Nate Livings: UFA Cowboys; $19M/5 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; $21M/5 yrs, $8M guaranteed.
WR Jerome Simpson: UFA Vikings; 1 yr, terms unknown.

Players Re-signed

OT Anthony Collins: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
DT Nick Hayden: Potential ERFA; $615,000/1 yr.
CB Adam Jones: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
LB Manny Lawson: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
S Reggie Nelson: UFA; $18M/4 yrs.
RB Cedric Peerman: Potential ERFA; $615,000/1 yr, terms unknown.
FB Chris Pressley: Potential RFA; $2.1M/2 yrs.
LB Vincent Rey: Potential ERFA; $450,000/1 yr.
DT Pat Sims: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
LS Clark Harris: RFA); terms unknown.
TE Donald Lee: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
S Jeromy Miles: ERFA; $540,000/1 yr.
OT Dennis Roland: UFA; terms unknown.
LB Dan Skuta: RFA tendered at $1.26M with no compensation); $1.26M/1 yr.

Players Acquired

CB Jason Allen: UFA Texans; $8.2M/2 yrs.
DE Jamaal Anderson: UFA Colts; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis: UFA Patriots; $9M/3 yrs.
DE Derrick Harvey: UFA Broncos; 1 yr, terms unknown.
OG Travelle Wharton: FA Panthers; $10M/3 yrs, $3.2M guaranteed.
OG Jacob Bell: UFA Rams; 1 yr, terms unknown.
CB Terence Newman: FA Cowboys; terms unknown.

Team Needs

Wide receiver: A.J. Green can stretch the field and provide the big plays, but now the task is finding someone to pair with him. They also need to find a reliable weapon on short and medium routes for Quarterback Andy Dalton.
Defensive line: Losing Defensive Ends Jonathan Fanene and Frostee Rucker to the Patriots, broke up one of the deepest rotations in the league. The additions of Jamaal Anderson and Derrick Harvey aren’t enough, which places some importance on this position in the draft.
Depth at Offensive Line, Cornerback and Linebacker are the next priorities.

Draft Picks

Round Pick Player Position Height Weight College
1 17 Dre Kirkpatrick Cornerback 6-3 192 Alabama
1 27 Kevin Zeitler Guard 6-4 315 Wisconsin
2 53 Devon Still Defensive Tackle 6-5 310 Penn State
3 83 Mohamed Sanu Wide Receiver 6-2 215 Rutgers
3 93 Brandon Thompson Defensive Tackle 6-2 310 Clemson
4 116 Orson Charles Tight End 6-3 241 Georgia
5 156 Shaun Prater Cornerback 5-11 185 Iowa
5 166 Marvin Jones Wide Receiver 6-3 202 California
5 167 George Iloka Strong Safety 6-3 216 Boise State
6 191 Dan Herron Running Back 5-10 205 Ohio State

.
With 10 picks in this years draft, the Bengals addressed key needs on offense and defense, using five on each side.They found their starter at Right Guard in Kevin Zeitler and boosted the Defensive Line, Cornerback and Tight End. They also picked up a pair of Wideouts who will compete to start opposite A.J. Green.

Dre Kirkpatrick - This was a great pickup at #17. Kirkpatrick makes 32-year old Nate Clements expendable, especially after the signings of Jason Allen from the Texans and Terence Newman from the Cowboys.

Kevin Zeitler - The Bengals moved down six spots and also gained a 3rd-round pick from New England. They liked David DeCastro, but Zeitler might work out better because he is considered to be slightly better as a run blocker.

Devon Still - He gives the Bengals another solid pass rusher up the middle.

Mohamed Sanu - Sanu is a big physical receiver who had 115 receptions last season, which was a Big East single-season record. He will line up opposite A.J. Green and give Andy Dalton another weapon.

Brandon Thompson - Adding Thompson to Devon Still replenished the depth on the Cincy Defensive Line with good young talent with tremendous upside.

Orson Charles - Tight End was probably the last position of need on the Bengals, but having the 2nd best Tight End drop to them in the 4th round, they have competition and depth to work with. Charles is a physical blocker who also is good as a receiver.

Shaun Prater - Prater's impact in 2012 will be on the Special Teams units, as a gunner in punt coverage.

Marvin Jones - Jones will compete for the chance to line up opposite A.J. Green.

George Iloka - Iloka has the size and speed to match up with Tight Ends and will compete for playing time with the rest of a crowded group in the Defensive backfield.

Dan "Boom" Herron - Herron won't kill you with speed but he is a strong runner between the Tackles. He is another filler that will need to stand out on Special Teams to make the roster.

CFAs
Arizona State LB Vontaze Burfict, Arkansas St. DE Brandon Joiner, Bowling Green C Ben Bojicic, Western Kentucky CB Derrius Brooks, UCLA S Tony Dye, New Mexico DB Bubba Forrest, Colorado QB Tyler Hansen, Indiana St. WR Justin Hilton, Kansas St. S Emmanuel Lamur, West Virginia DE Julian Miller, UConn WR Kashif Moore, Notre Dame OG Trevor Robinson, New Mexico St.WR Taveon Rodgers, Colorado RB Rodney Stewart and Clemson OT Landon Walker.

Burfict is the biggest name here, but Joiner had 13-Sacks at Arkansas St. last season, so he could make the squad.

Overall, the Cincinnati Bengals had a good offseason. They upgraded their quality of depth, even after a couple of key losses. They maneuvered well in the draft and made the best of their 10 draft picks. I know many Bronco fans would have been happy to add Still and Thompson, but Kirkpatrick, Zeitler and Charles make this an A+ draft in my opinion. I see the Denver Broncos visiting an improved Bengal squad on November 4th, 2012.

Go Broncos!

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