breaking news

Navy filing homicide charges against 2 ship commanders; Champaign Co. man died after ship collision

Bengals draft class stamped with speed


After selecting the fastest player in the NFL Draft on Thursday and the fastest defensive lineman Friday, the Cincinnati Bengals kept their sights set on speed with their final eight picks Saturday.

“That’s part of it with today’s NFL; we measure speed every day on the field,” coach Marvin Lewis said. “We have to make sure we feel good about it.”

After drafting Washington wide receiver John Ross in the first round and Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis in the third, not to mention Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon in the second, the Bengals continued to accrue elite speed with the addition of Oklahoma linebacker Jordan Evans and Houston cornerback Brandon Wilson.

Evans did not receive an invitation to the Combine, but the 4.5-second 40-yard dash he ran at his pro day was faster than any linebacker there. Wilson, another Combine snub, ran a 4.34 40 at his pro day, which would have been the second-fastest among cornerbacks who ran in Indianapolis.

>> RELATED: Cincinnati selects fastest player in the draft

Tennessee wide receiver Josh Malone, whom the Bengals selected with their second of three fourth-round picks, clocked 4.40 40 at the Combine, which only trailed Ross and Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel among wide receivers. And the team’s first pick on Saturday, fourth-round Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson, had the sixth-fastest 40 at the Combine.

>> MORE: Former Bengals great a big fan of Lawson

But while the Bengals placed a priority on speed, production weighed heavily with the coaches and scouts.

>> MORE:  Bengals fans welcome Mixon to Cincinnati

“I think that’s most important for us,” Lewis said. “The production has to match up with the timed speed. That’s the hardest part. We don’t play football in shorts. We’ve elevated the Combine to such a big, huge deal, and that’s just one part of the puzzle and a confirmation of things. The tape matters so much.

“When coaches ask you to talk to their underclassmen, you try to encourage (them and tell them) if they would prepare as hard for their final college season as they do for the things that come postseason, they’d have a better (regular) season,” Lewis added. “They really prepare hard for the Combine. Now we have to get them ready for football.”

Like Jay Morrison on Twitter

The Bengals went into the day with nine picks but only ended up making eight after trading up 10 spots in the sixth round to nab Wilson, a converted running back who scored eight touchdowns six different ways while at Houston.

It was only the fourth time in franchise history the Bengals have traded up in the draft (center Russell Bodine in 2014, tight end Matt Schobel in 2002 and running back Ki-Jana Carter in 1995).

“Any time you trade forward, you’re targeting a player,” Lewis said. ” We felt like, in that case, Brandon fit us in a good spot. We hadn’t taken a player at that position, and he’d have an opportunity to come in and really make us better.”

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Like our Cincinnati Bengals News Now Facebook page

The Bengals also added defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow from Michigan with their third pick in the fourth round before making another rare move in selecting Memphis kicker Jake Elliott in the fifth round. Elliott is the first kicker the Bengals have drafted in the Marvin Lewis era.

The team rounded out its 2017 class with Utah center J.J. Dielman, a converted tackle, with its second pick in the fifth round, and Buffalo tight end Mason Schreck in the seventh.

“I think we really were blessed the way the draft fell for us,” Lewis said. “We were able to take basically the best player available in our minds at that time, and continue to fill some of our needs, so I’m excited about that. These guys — their (physical) traits, and their mental aspects as well — they all fit in line with the physical part of the game they play.

“We’re really excited about that, and we feel like it was a beneficial three days.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Fort Loramie lands former Wapak assistant as football coach
Fort Loramie lands former Wapak assistant as football coach

Fort Loramie has named Spencer Wells to succeed Whit Parks as the Redskins head football coach. It’s the first head coaching position for Wells, who last season was the quarterbacks coach at Wapakoneta. He also has been an assistant at Marion Local, Celina and Allen East. Wells is a Delphos St. John’s graduate and played on the Blue Jays&rsquo...
WATCH: 5-year-old dancer steals the show at Cavs-Warriors’ game
WATCH: 5-year-old dancer steals the show at Cavs-Warriors’ game

The halftime show of Monday night’s game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors featured a dancing 5-year-old whose moves amazed thousands of NBA fans around the world.  With the Cavaliers’ Scream Team in the background, young Tavaris Jones danced to the song “Rolex” by Ayo and Teo, according...
Bengals long snapper headed to Pro Bowl
Bengals long snapper headed to Pro Bowl

A third Cincinnati Bengals player has been named to the Pro Bowl after long snapper tweeted that the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff extended the invitation to him Tuesday afternoon. Harris joins defensive tackle Geno Atkins and wide receiver A.J. Green as Pro Bowl selections of the Bengals, although Green will not be playing due to an undisclosed...
Bolivar will return for second season as Dragons manager
Bolivar will return for second season as Dragons manager

Returning as the Dayton Dragons manager was a given for Luis Bolivar, although it wasn’t official until the parent-club Cincinnati Reds made that announcement on Tuesday. His Dragons roots run deep, first as a player, then hitting coach and finally as manager. This will be his second season as the Dragons’ main man and there are many reasons...
Bengals defensive end makes all-rookie team
Bengals defensive end makes all-rookie team

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carl Lawson has been voted to the Pro Football Writer Association All-Rookie Team. A fourth-round pick out of Auburn, Lawson recorded 8.5 sacks, which were just a half sack shy of the team lead despite playing just 41.6 percent of the defensive snaps. The other three defensive lineman on the all-rookie team —...
More Stories