The Cincinnati Bengals made three draft day trades and received a solid “B+” grade from your benevolent dictator. All teams start with an average “C” grade and then need to impress me in order to move up. Cincy traded down once in the second round – a brilliant strategy – then traded up twice in the fourth round, which is also pretty solid. Here’s the net of what they did:
Began with: No. 42 (2nd), No. 110 (4th), No. 149 (5th), No. 183 (6th), No. 213 (6th)
Ended with: No. 52 (2nd), No. 104 (4th), No. 125 (4th), No. 136 (4th), No. 182 (6th)
At a high level, there is virtually no difference in the caliber of players available at No. 104 and No. 110. Same goes for No. 136 and No. 149. It is worthwhile to note, however, that the Bengals did get the better draft pick in both of those transactions. When factoring out those two sets of comparable picks, here’s a better view of what the Bengals pulled off:
Began with: No. 42 (2nd), No. 183 (6th), No. 213 (6th)
Ended with: No. 52 (2nd), No. 125 (4th), No. 182 (6th)
By trading down just 10 spots in the second round, the Bengals moved up 58 spots (from No. 183 to No. 125) into the fourth round and 31 spots (from No. 213 to No. 182) in the sixth round. That’s some nice value there! As I preach in TDI’s Glorious Constitution, you either trust your GM and your scouts to draft the right players, or you don’t. If you trust the Bengals to nail their original No. 42 pick, why would you doubt them at No. 52? They then had a slew of better picks in the fourth round to work with as a result of their trades. I absolutely loved their first trade, moving back those 10 spots to pick up free selections in the fourth (No. 125) and sixth (No. 182) rounds. The best way to win the lottery that is the NFL draft is to have as many viable tickets as possible to scratch!
Trading up twice in the fourth round and sacrificing sixth round picks is also right in harmony with my island’s constitution as I openly preach, “Picks in Rounds 5-7 rarely yield value, so use these to trade up for studs this year or a better pick next year.” Not a bad strategy by the Bengals if they saw something in Ryan Finley and Michael Jordan (nice name!) that they really liked.
Overall the Bengals net trade rating is a -42 based on the Dallas Draft Value Chart, meaning they lost a lot more draft capital than they got back in return. I obviously disagree with this old-school view. The 100 point difference between the No. 42 and No. 52 pick is far too high. Forget the Dallas Draft Value Chart. The Bengals roared with their draft day trade strategy.