Yes, it is true that DeCastro was the consensus best guard coming into the draft. Unanimous, based on what I saw published. But there also seems to be a lot of love for Zeitler out there. Supposedly "many" teams had Zeitler graded higher, but who knows if that 's really true.
You keep appealing to authority, Dacow, but what do these sage reservoirs of football wisdom (Mayock, Nawrocki, Rang, Prisco, Judge, Czarnecki, etc., etc.) say about the Bungs choice? None are exactly standing on a chair denouncing the result.
Mayock -- Boy, how about this pick? And I don't care if it's not popular. This guy is a plug-and-play guard. Wisconsin offensive linemen are always extremely well-coached. ... consistent and tough is Zeitler...
Nawrocki -- Many teams had graded Zeitler slightly higher than Stanford's David DeCastro, including the Bengals. He is not an elite athlete, but he is smart, strong, tough and can allow Travelle Wharton to kick outside as a swing tackle if Andre Smith proves unreliable again. Zeitler has the makeup to start a long time in the league.
Rang -- The Bengals solved two of their biggest areas of concern by landing cornerback 'Dre Kirkpatrick and offensive guard Kevin Zeitler in the first round. They both play with the consistency and physicality that is required in the division. As it turns out, the Bengals were just getting started with what arguably was the best draft enjoyed by any team in 2012.
Prisco -- Best pick: It wasn't a sexy pick, but taking Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler in the first round will pay off. He's a tough, aggressive player. Should be a rookie starter. ... (overall draft grade) A+
Judge -- With the first of two draft picks Cincinnati gained for Carson Palmer, the Bengals chose Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler, a guy who had an astonishing 142 knockdown blocks last season and solidifies an offensive line that could use inside help.
Czarnecki -- Based on mock drafts, their first three picks were projected in the first round, including Devon Still, Penn State's gap-quick defensive tackle who was the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. They also took the two players they designated two weeks ago: Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and rugged guard Kevin Zeitler from Wisconsin. ... Grade: A
So where is the roaring contempt we should expect to find if the Bungs made another classic Mike Brown blunder? There should at least be some tutt-tutting going on. But there's nothing like that to be found among your pantheon of experts, and I'll tell you why. These dudes absolutely know
how farcical it is to claim micron-level precision for their draft grades. (It usually takes a Mel Kiper to be that audacious.) So they give teams some leeway. So should we.
And by the way, I'm not necessarily impressed by a strong consensus. That could easily be the product of the media's echo chamber.
A boat-load of links: