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News » Cincinnati Bengals Inside Slant 2009-04-27

Cincinnati Bengals Inside Slant 2009-04-27

Cincinnati Bengals Inside Slant 2009-04-27

Things ended up falling the right way for the Bengals in getting players to fill needs on their roster.

From finding offensive line help to protect Carson Palmer to getting a couple of defensive linemen to upgrade the pass rush to finding a punter who can pin opponents back at their own end of the field, Marvin Lewis and his staff were able to get the best athletes on their board.

"Overall I think it's been a good positive couple of days," Lewis said. "We are gaining guys who can come in and compete. I don't think they will be overwhelmed by coming in. They all have the athleticism to play and the mental aptitude to make us better. Things fell into place good."

Overall, the Bengals do have some players who can step in immediately. Andre Smith could play left or right tackle while Rey Maualuga and Michael Johnson can provide upgrades to the pass rush.

They might've also found their starting center and punter -- taking Jonathan Luigs and Kevin Huber.

But it is the compensatory sixth-round pick that might draw the most attention. Long known as a team that takes chances with players who have had questionable off-the-field incidents, the Bengals are taking a chance on another one with Bernard Scott in the sixth round.

Scott, from Abilene Christian, has been arrested at least five times.

"He had some things in his past and bounced from school to school. I liken him a lot in that regard to TJ (Houshmandzadeh)," Lewis said. "At that point in the draft it was worth the opportunity and he's kind of gotten his life together. Wherever this guy has been he's succeeded with a lot of yards."

BEST PICK: Andre Smith should be a rookie starter at offensive tackle. After giving up 51 sacks last year and losing two starters to free agency, the Bengals needed an immediate upgrade to their offensive line. Enter Smith, who has been called a dominant run blocker and a solid pass blocker. He can come in and take over at left tackle for Levi Jones or move to right tackle, where a spot is open after Stacy Andrews left for the Eagles.

COULD SURPRISE: TE Chase Coffman could be the guy, if only he stays healthy. There are no doubts about his pass-catching skills, but hardly anyone has seen him as a blocker because he was in a spread offense at Missouri, which is why he dropped to the late third round. If he can come in and grasp those skills, he provides Carson Palmer with yet another solid receiving option. The Bengals had success last year with another third-round compensatory pick when they selected wide receiver Andre Caldwell.

A closer look at the Bengals' picks:

Round 1/6 -- Andre Smith, OT, 6-4, 332, Alabama

The Bengals all along had him as their top-rated tackle. He was the best run blocker of the top four tackles and is also judged to be a solid pass blocker. The Bengals finalized their decision on Thursday when offensive line coach Paul Alexander made a surprise visit to Birmingham, Ala., to meet and weigh Smith.

Round 2/38 -- Rey Maualuga, LB, 6-2, 249, Southern Cal

Most draft boards had him going in the first round, but the Bengals were glad he dropped to them. A middle linebacker who can quickly get to the outside, Maualuga is versatile enough to play any of the three linebacker spots. He didn't have any sacks last year but eight as a junior.

Round 3/70 -- Michael Johnson, DE, 6-7, 266, Georgia Tech

A talented and athletic defensive lineman with a long wingspan. However, the thing that dropped him down into the second day was that he is wildly inconsistent. He finished third in the Atlantic Coast Conference last year with nine sacks and gives the Bengals the third-down pass rush specialist they have been seeking ... if they can get him to play consistently.

Round 3/98 -- Chase Coffman, TE, 6-6, 244, Missouri

Coffman was regarded as one of the best tight ends in the country. He had 90 receptions for 987 yards and 10 touchdowns last year. The biggest area that needs development is his blocking, skills that are lacking since he played in a spread offense during four years at Mizzou. Coffman though acknowledges those shortcomings and said he is ready to come in and show he can be a blocker.

Round 4/106 -- Jonathan Luigs, C, 6-4, 301, Arkansas

With the team not electing to bring back starting center Eric Ghiaciuc, and the team's other three centers having one series of NFL experience between them, Luigs will have a chance to come in and compete for the starting spot. He won the Rimington Trophy as a junior. He is known as a smart and technically sound blocker who could fit in well with the Bengals' zone scheme.

Round 5/142 -- Kevin Huber, P, 6-1, 220, Cincinnati

Huber is the first Greater Cincinnati player to be selected by the Bengals since Jerry Reynolds in 1994. Last year Huber averaged 44.95 yards per punt, which was the seventh highest in Division I-A. Of his 60 punts, 20 were 50 yards or more. He had 24 punts downed inside the 20, including 15 inside the 10 and seven inside the 5. He will come in and be favored to supplant Kyle Larson as the starting punter. Larson

Round 6/179 -- Morgan Trent, CB, 6-1, 193, Michigan

Trent is the second Michigan cornerback in three years to be drafted (Leon Hall went in the first round in 2007) by the Bengals. He posted 41 tackles last year with three interceptions. Two of those came against Notre Dame.

Round 6/209 -- Bernard Scott, RB, 5-11, 200, Abilene Christian

There's no denying the talent of the Abilene Christian running back. He won the Harlon Hill Award, given to the best player in Division II, this past season after rushing for 2,156 yards and 28 touchdowns while also having six receiving touchdowns. However, it's the off-the-field issues that raise questions. He has reportedly been arrested at least five times and served probation for allegedly giving false information to a police officer during a 2007 arrest.

Round 7/215 -- Fui Vakapuna, FB, 6-1, 253, Brigham Young

He started eight games at fullback last season with 291 yards on 54 carries and three touchdowns. The Bengals did not have a true fullback last year (Daniel Coats was more of a tight end). They consider him to be in the same mold as Fahu Tahi, who was on the Bengals practice squad in 2006, before being signed by Minnesota.

Round 7/ 249 -- Clinton McDonald, DT, 6-2, 289, Memphis

McDonald led the Tigers in sacks (seven) and was second in tackles for loss (7.5) and seventh in tackles (39). He provides another pass rusher and some depth on the defensive line.

Round 7/252 -- Freddie Brown, WR, 6-4, 215, Utah

Brown was one of the top receivers in the Mountain West, leading the Utes in receptions and receiving yards (77 for 900). He dominated the Sugar Bowl game against Alabama with 12 catches for 125 yards.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 27, 2009

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