Rodney Anderson Jersey

By all accounts, the Bengals had a very good showing in the 2019 NFL Draft, and a big part of that was how well they did on Day 3.

One of the picks made during the final day of the draft was Oklahoma Sooners running back Rodney Anderson in Round 6. When healthy, Anderson was a tremendous talent that had early Day 2 potential in the draft.

However, multiple season-ending injuries in college led to Anderson taking a fall all the way to Round 6 before Cincinnati scooped him up. Even so, Anderson has been touted by several experts as the Bengals’ best value pick in the draft.

But that’s not even the biggest praise Anderson has gotten.

Over at ESPN, Mike Sando spoke with a number of league executives about all 32 NFL teams’ draft classes. When it came to the Bengals, one exec had some high praise for the kind of back Anderson is when healthy:

An evaluator thought the Bengals could emerge from this draft with one of the NFL’s best running back tandems by pairing sixth-rounder Rodney Anderson with established starter Joe Mixon. This evaluator also liked Trayveon Williams, the other back Cincy took in the sixth.

”We knew Rodney was going to fall because of the medical and maybe because of some allegations that have been discredited,” an evaluator said. “He can be the best back in this draft when he’s healthy, along the lines of a David Johnson.”

That’s really high praise, considering David Johnson was arguably the best running back in football in 2016 when he had over 2,000 yards from scrimmage while scoring 20 touchdowns. But like Anderson, injuries have been a major issue for Johnson, who has just 963 rushing yards in his last two seasons while averaging 3.6 yards per carry.

In addition, Anderson faced a rape allegation in 2017, but no charges were filed, and he passed a polygraph test. It still probably made teams more weary of drafting Anderson when combined with his injury issues.

In the end, the Bengals took a gamble on Anderson, but it’s of the low-risk, high-reward variety when you realize how good he is when healthy.

Trayveon Williams Jersey

Williams approaches the line of scrimmage his reads take him to the cut back. He executes a great jump-cut that quickly takes him to the backside B-gap. The reverse action by the wide receiver has held the edge player and Williams has a huge opening to run through.

After picking up a first down, three defenders converge on him. He lowers his shoulder and keeps his legs moving, powering forward for more yards. Smooth cutbacks like this allow Williams to get into open gaps quickly and take advantage of holes in the defense.

This is another example of Williams’ great vision and agility. As LSU shows in the front-side gap, Williams quickly cuts back, quickly gets running up field again. He drags one LSU defender behind him as he plows into another on his way to the touchdown. Good running backs are like water: they find the fastest way downhill. Williams has the vision to see his cutback, but also understands that he must start running north/south as quickly as possible.

Williams is not one of those speedy little backs who are always looking to bounce the run out or bend it back. On this run, he drives right into a pile of defenders on the goal line and has the strength and leverage to squeak out of the back end for the touchdown. Williams has surprising power for a back of his stature which shows up regularly on his film.

This is another great read and cut back. After he breaks free, Williams does a great job of leaning away from the pursuit. Then as a secondary player approaches him from the front, Williams cuts back to the inside causing the missed tackle. Being able to make moves like these in the open field is what turns long runs into touchdown runs.

Williams is considered one of the best pass blocking running backs in this year’s draft. Here he helps out the right guard with a chip block as he releases to the check down route. He then adjusts to the off-target pass, makes the catch, and is able to pick up a few more yards.

In this clip, Williams is responsible for the edge rusher to the top of the screen. He steps up, bends his knees, and delivers a blow that stops the defender in his tracks. Notice how he brings his hips through on contact. It is a similar movement to a hang clean. Williams may not be the biggest player on the field, but he understands how to use leverage to maximize his strength,

On this play, the Aggies are running a half man/half zone protection. The left guard, center, right guard, and right tackle all slide to the right. They are responsible for the defensive line and any blitzing linebackers or defensive backs on that side. The left tackle stays on the left side and is responsible for the defensive end who is standing up in this case.

Deshaun Davis Jersey

The Bengals use their second pick in the sixth round to take linebacker Deshaun Davis out of Auburn.

It isn’t surprising to see the Bengals double up on linebacker in the draft. It was the biggest need coming into the draft. Davis’ biggest impact his rookie year will probably be on special teams.

The Bengals have had a very active Day 3 of the draft. They traded up twice in the fourth round by using their fifth round pick and three of their six sixth round picks. So far, they’ve used Day 3 to add a backup quarterback, defensive tackle, interior offensive lineman and running back. All of those were positions where the Bengals desperately need developmental players and added depth.

Davis adds depth to linebacker, and he is probably going to be a big time special team player. He wasn’t known for being a very good in coverage, but he is a great tackler and at getting through blocks. As far as sixth round picks go, the Bengals could do far worse. could do far worse.

Deshaun Davis’ road to the pros ended on Saturday, when the former Auburn linebacker was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals

Davis heard his name called on Day 3 of the NFL Draft, with the Bengals choosing him in the sixth round with the 210th overall pick in the draft. Davis was the fourth Auburn player to be selected in this year’s draft, behind cornerback Jamel Dean (third round to Tampa Bay), quarterback Jarrett Stidham (fourth round to New England) and receiver Darius Slayton (fifth round to the New York Giants).

He is just the second former Auburn linebacker to be drafted since 2007 and the first Auburn linebacker since Corey Lemonier was picked in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.

For Davis, hearing his name called Saturday was the culmination of a winding, at times unlikely, road to the NFL.

When he was 12 years old, he was kicked out of school after getting into a fight — prompting his homeroom teacher to tell Davis’ mother to her face that she did a poor job raising him. After Davis got to high school at Vigor, he took football more seriously at the behest of his coach, Kerry Stevenson, and then transformed into an All-State player as a sophomore, albeit an undersized and under-recruited linebacker prospect.

Ryan Finley Jersey

North Carolina State quarterback Ryan Finley drops back to pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Clemson, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

For just the fifth time in their history the Bengals traded up and for the first time it was for a quarterback when they leaped six spots in the fourth round to take North Carolina State’s Ryan Finley.

Head coach Zac Taylor, a quarterbacks coach for all but one season of his NFL career, had been pretty quiet about acquiring new help for the position. They were mute on the free-agent front and didn’t entertain the top tier of quarterbacks at Paul Brown Stadium during the draft process.

But they did visit with Finley at PBS and the first QB move was a big one early Saturday when the packaged two of their sixth-round picks to exchange spots with the 49ers. Besides his height (6-4), Finley impressed the coaches with his football IQ but he also did plenty on tape to impress them with a 67.4 completion percentage last season to go with 25 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. During his junior season he went 339 straight passes without throwing a pick. He’s looking to add weight, but he’ll have time to develop as the No. 2 because they have no designs to replace Andy Dalton this season.

Taylor and his staff like Finley’s ability to throw in rhythm and anticipation of receivers getting open as well as his mobility in the pocket. N.C. State teammate Germaine Pratt, the linebacker the Bengals took in the third round, had just finished meeting the media at PBS when the move was announced.

“That’s my guy,” Pratt said he hurried to an autograph signing. “Great arm. Good leader.”

The Bengals traded up to get running back Ki-Jana Carter in the first round in 1995, tight end Matt Schobel in the third round in 2002, center Russell Bodine in the fourth round in 2014 and safety Brandon Wilson in the sixth round in 2017. It’s believed to be the first time since two picks in the 2007 seventh round the Bengals went back-to-back with players from the same school since Notre Dame guard Dan Santucci and safety Chinedum Ndukwe.

Michael Jordan Jersey

The Cincinnati Bengals weren’t pulling any punches in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL draft.
First, they moved up to take quarterback Ryan Finley. Then they got a top-of-board guy with Renell Wren.

As a topper, they moved back up into the fourth round via trade with the Dallas Cowboys to select Ohio State offensive lineman Michael Jordan.

That’s about as good as it gets for a team with a ton of picks to leverage in moves and a big need to fill. All the Bengals had to do was cough up No. 149 and No. 213 to move up to No. 136, which isn’t a big deal for a team that entered Day 3 with a silly 10 selections.

And Jordan is a big deal. Guys that check in at 6’6″ and 312 pounds don’t come around often, nor do they play with the pop he did — especially at guard.

At No. 136, the Bengals got a prospect who could come in and start at guard right away. He arguably looked better there than at center and obviously got a good recommendation from Billy Price.

Given the small overall cost of the move up, the fact those picks they traded probably weren’t going to make the roster anyway and Jordan’s potential to boost an entire unit, there isn’t any other way to go with the grade.

Jordan adds to the list of options the Bengals will have in play on the offensive line in 2019. He can play guard and center, another versatile body that can mix and match to get the best five blockers together on the field at the same time. Depending on where first-round pick Jonah Williams ends up, left or right tackle, Jordan should push veterans Cordy Glenn (who could move inside due to the addition of Williams) and Clint Boling, free agent signing John Miller and fan favorite Christian Westerman in the fight at the two guard spots.

Renell Wren Jersey

When the Green Bay Packers drafted defensive lineman Kingsley Keke in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, it was clear they were looking to improve their pass rush. And it looks like they were able to get Keke much lower than expected.

Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus named the steals of the draft and Keke made the cut. Here’s a look at what Renner had to say about Keke:

“Keke played a tad out of position at Texas A&M, where he took 62.2% of his snaps lined up over or outside the tackle. At 288 pounds, he realistically translates best to three-technique or interior rusher at the next level. And in that role, he dominated at the Senior Bowl practices in Mobile. He had the highest win rate and highest grade among all defensive linemen in attendance in the one-on-ones.”

Keke, who played college football at Texas A&M, earned a starting role on the defensive line in 2017 and he finished the year with 54 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack. He had a breakout year for the Aggies in 2018, registering 51 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and a team-high seven sacks.

Here’s a look at what Lance Zierlein of NFL.com had to say about Keke:

“Potentially polarizing prospect as some teams could struggle with his best fit in the league. With his athletic ability and functional strength, a role as base in a 4-3 scheme with the ability to reduce inside is most likely. One-gapping 3-4 defenses could target him as well, but he’ll need to add aggressiveness at the point of attack for that role. Keke could step into an early backup spot, but he possesses enough natural ability to aim for an eventual starter or designated rusher role.”

Once the pick was made, college scout Charles Walls talked about why they decided to go with KeKe.

“He’s been a good player there for a while. He’s been on my radar,” he said. “He’s a guy that school talked about for a long time as a guy to be excited about for the future. He’s been on the radar for quite a while.”

Walls went on to talk about the role Keke will play for the Packers this fall.

“I can see him bumping down as a three-tech or even sometimes in their scheme, he’ll play true nose (tackle) in their sub packages,” said Walls. “I’m truly excited about this kid. He can play anywhere.”

Keke is the final piece to the Packers revamped front seven, it started back in March when they signed edge rushers Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith. The Packers also drafted former Michigan edge rusher Rashan Gary in the first round (No. 12) and because of those moves, the Packers released edge rusher Nick Perry and they moved on from edge rusher Clay Matthews when his contract expired at the start of free agency.

Germaine Pratt Jersey

The first round was exciting, the second round was confusing, and in the third round, the Bengals finally found a player to fill their biggest need ,and it was a good one.

After years of neglect and stop-gap players like Kevin Minter and Karlos Dansby, the house of cards that was the linebacker position finally collapsed in 2018. The position was a huge weakness full of players who struggled in coverage, struggled to tackle, and struggled to stay healthy.

Now, the Bengals have made a move to change that by adding North Carolina State linebacker Germaine Pratt with their third-round pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Speed: The Bengals needed an athletic upgrade at linebacker, and they got it with Pratt. His testing is okay, but his play speed is much better. He is always flying around and never seems to be out of a play. He has the speed to make plays all from sideline to sideline, whether it be in the run game or the pass game.

Tackling: Getting to the ball carrier does not do much good if you can’t make the tackle. The Bengals’ entire defense struggled to make tackles in 2018. Fortunately, they added a linebacker who does not struggle in that area. Pratt is an excellent tackler. He hits hard and high bringing his hips through the tackle for power. Pratt is equally skilled as a tackler in the open field or in the gap.

Pratt is very good coverage linebacker, which is something that the Bengals lack. He has the skill to play effectively in zone coverage and the athletic ability to cover tight ends and big slots. This fills a big need for the Bengals who have struggled with underneath coverage.

Drew Sample Jersey

Drew Sample, a 6-foot-5, 255-pound tight end from Washington, was taken with the 52nd overall pick in the second round by Cincinnati in the 2019 NFL Draft. Sample will join former Huskies John Ross and Tristan Vizcaino in Ohio.

Sample didn’t get a lot of opportunities in the passing game, but he still managed to post 46 receptions for 487 yards and five touchdowns in his four years as a starter. While he’s an underrated receiver, the Bellevue native’s forte is being able to move defenders off the line of scrimmage in the running game and that’s something that he did very well with the Huskies.

Sample is just the third Husky tight end to be drafted since 2002 — Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Will Dissly are the others — but there are two more former Husky tight ends in the league as Darrell Daniels and Josh Perkins are also on rosters as well.

“Sample saved his best season for last, garnering honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors by catching 25 passes for 252 yard (10.1 average) and three touchdowns for the Pac-12 champions. He struggled through a leg injury his junior year but continued to play, earning the Huskies’ Don James Perseverance Award for his efforts. He caught seven passes for 84 yards on the year, starting 8 of 10 games played. It was the second time Sample had received a major postseason award from the team, as he was the recipient of the Tough Husky Award after his redshirt freshman season (5-45-9.0, two receiving TDs in 13 games with seven starts.) The former All-King County selection from Newport High School in Bellevue was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection after his sophomore campaign, when he caught nine passes for 106 yards (11.8 average).”

At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis earlier in the year, Sample ran a 4.71 40, jumped 33.5 inches in the vertical jump and 115 inches (9’7″) in the standing broad jump.
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NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had this to say about Sample’s versatility and how he fits in an NFL offense… “Sample’s size and lunch-pail demeanor are what NFL teams look for at the point of attack. While he might be typecast as just a blocking tight end, he possess enough speed and ball skills to become a more productive pass catcher than he was at Washington. His size, football character and commitment as a run blocker give him a chance to become a solid combination tight end with TE2 potential.”

ESPN, which has Sample rated as the fifth-best tight end available, feels that Sample is a perfect fit in an NFL offense… “Sample’s unique traits are his ball skills and his blocking. He is one of the best blocking tight ends in this class, both as a run-blocker and in pass pro. He has a lot of tightness, which is seen in his route-running. He is slow in and out of his breaks, and he rarely gets separation with his cuts at the top of his stem. He comes with good football intelligence, work ethic and toughness. Sample has value as a backup tight end because of his outstanding blocking and ball skills, but he will never be a good starter in the NFL.”

Jonah Williams Jersey

CINCINNATI — Sitting at the podium in Paul Brown Stadium, Jonah Williams was speaking matter-of-factly, without sounding boastful or brash, about his goal as an offensive lineman.

“My goal is to make the person not want to keep lining up across from me. I want them to ask to switch to the other side or ask to get a sub in,” the Bengals’ first-round pick said at his introductory news conference Friday.

Hearing that, your first thought might be, “Uh-oh. That quote’s going up on the wall in the Steelers’ locker room and in every locker room of a Bengals’ opponent next season.”

But your second thought should be: “Good. That kind of bold thinking is just what the Bengals need.”

And Jonah Williams appears to have the skills, strength and mindset to back it up.

In college, the 6-4, 302-pound Alabama star dominated some of the best competition in the land, allowing just one sack in 850 snaps and none at all in his senior year.

Williams appears to be the football version of the Incredible Hulk – one part brainy technician, one part brawny mauler. He’s an offensive lineman who prides himself on the exactness of his technique and preparation but turns from a soft-spoken giant into a brute when he walks onto the field.

“I want to impose my will on my opponent and make people quit,” Williams said, citing his “physicality” as one of his strengths.

“I’m not a trash talker, not dirty or anything like that … I’m pretty calm, collected off the field, but there’s a switch I can turn on.”

Williams said most football people put him in “the technician, smart guy box” as a lineman, and it’s easy to understand why by the way he talks about his preparation.

Williams described a checklist he goes through before each play.

“I get in my stance, and I’m comfortable in my stance because I’ve run it through my head a thousand times,” he said. “I look at the defense. I look at the safeties. I look at what I need to look at. By the time the ball is snapped, I’ve diagnosed what I have to do. I know what my first step is going to be. I know where my hat is going to go. I know where my hands are going to go. And I have an idea of what the D-end or D-tackle — whoever I’m going against — is going to do.”

That’s when his physicality take over, and Dr. Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk.

“At that point, you just cut it loose,” Williams said. “The ball snaps, you come out, and you already know what you’re doing. You’ve practiced it to the point that it’s muscle memory.”

Williams said he never takes a play or a minute off – whether it’s on the field during a game or practice, in the weight room or in the film room.

“I try to approach everything the same way, whether it’s walk-throughs, lifting weights or watching film,” he said. “I always want to push that and make sure that when I step on the field, I know I’ve done everything in my ability to be as prepared as I can be. I think it’s just that professionalism and the type of competitiveness I bring.”

Here’s what Williams said about:

Making the jump from college football to the NFL: “I know the NFL is a whole different animal and I’m coming into it as humble as I can be. I’m not coming in thinking I already know it all and I’ve already learned it all. But I do feel like the program that (Alabama coach Nick Saban) ran definitely helped with mental toughness as far as being able to be coached hard and being able to face adversity.”

Getting drafted by the Bengals: “As soon as the Bengals were on the clock, I was hoping my phone was going to ring. As soon as it did and I saw the Cincinnati area code, I just started nudging everyone around me. I definitely knew that the Bengals were a possibility at 11, so I was preparing myself. As soon as it came around to that pick, it kind of hit me how good of a fit I feel that it is. I love the culture here. I love this organization. The new coaching staff is great. And I’m just proud to be a part of it.”

Getting to wear his college number 73, which he picked in honor of his idol, Browns great Joe Thomas: “I was pretty stoked about that, getting to keep that number. But it’s a Bengals jersey, and that’s what I’m most excited about.”

Preston Brown Jersey

CINCINNATI — Preston Brown didn’t feel a need to check his phone and make a salary comparison during the NFL free agency period this month.

The Bengals announced Wednesday they have re-signed the Cincinnati native and 2010 Northwest High School graduate to a three-year contract through the 2021 season.

Brown, entering his sixth NFL season, had been due to become an unrestricted free agent at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

“Last year, I was kind of checking my phone looking at it and seeing how much they got and like, ‘Oh I can do better than him,’ and stuff like that,” Brown told reporters at Paul Brown Stadium Wednesday morning.

“This year – it was whatever happened then it happened. I was going to be me and whoever wanted me I was fine with that. It was great to be back here.”

Brown, 26, joined the Bengals last off-season as an unrestricted free agent after spending his first four seasons (2014-17) with the Buffalo Bills.

In 2018, Brown was the No. 1 middle linebacker and recorded 42 tackles and two interceptions despite being limited by ankle and knee injuries to just seven games (all starts).

“I hated watching myself on film the way I was hopping around,” Brown said. “It wasn’t me and it wasn’t fun to look like that.”

Brown told reporters he was cleared last week for his ankle issue. It was tough to miss a lot of time in 2018 but he wants to help the team in any way possible. He believes the AFC North is wide open.

“I will be ready to go once we start OTAs (organized team activities) start (April 9),” Brown said.

Brown said he spoke with Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo about schemes for this upcoming season.

“He said it was going to be multiple – some 4-3, some 3-4 things – you never know how it’s going to shake out exactly,” Brown said. “But once we get through OTAs and see how guys look in different sets and things we will kind of shake that out as we go along. But, I think they have a good feel for the players that are here and hopefully get some new guys through free agency and the draft as well.”

Prior to joining the Bengals, he had played in all 64 possible regular-season games (62 starts) since entering the NFL in 2014. He originally was the Bills’ third-round draft pick (73rd overall) from the University of Louisville in the 2014 draft.