Springboro’s Rigg, Miami’s Sorenson among Bengals’ college free-agent signings

Credit: Michael Clubb

Credit: Michael Clubb

Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor joked that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should pitch a reality TV show taking viewers into a war room with the coaching staff and scouts on the phone immediately after the draft, scrambling to grab college free agents that potentially could fill a need on their roster.

With just six draft picks this year, thanks to two trades to move up in the second and fifth rounds, the Bengals had more needs in the college free agent market.

The organization hadn’t announced its undrafted college free agent signings as of Monday afternoon, but reports indicated at least 14 players are expected to join the offseason roster, a group highlighted by Mississippi center/guard Ben Brown, who The Athletic’s Dane Brugler projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick and the seventh best center on the board.

“(We need) a lot of them -- that’s why I’m going to sit here as long as I possibly can, rather than being upstairs and dealing with all that,” Taylor said with a laugh in his press conference to recap the Bengals’ draft Saturday immediately after the team’s final pick. “But yeah, there’s lots of room for these undrafted guys. Historically, there’s been great opportunity here. I know none of them are going to watch this sales pitch I’m throwing out now, but just historically a lot of those guys have come in and performed well for us in training camp and made the team. You look at Stanley (Morgan), Damion Willis, Alex Erickson, Josh Tupou. There’s a million of them you can name that have found homes here and had good careers here, and opportunity. Again, we’re very hopeful we’ll find a couple more in this mix of guys.”

Among the reported signings were two prospects with local connections: Springboro native Justin Rigg, a tight end out of Kentucky, and Miami wide receiver Jack Sorenson. Both fill needs on the roster at spots not addressed in the draft.

A sixth-year super senior this past season, Rigg, who took part in the Bengals’ local Pro Day the week before the draft, caught 20 passes (third on the team) for 189 yards and four touchdowns as the Wildcats shifted to a more pass-oriented offense. He was often asked to be a blocking tight end throughout his career, but showed he could be a passing threat in the limited targets he received, finishing his career with 50 catches for 547 yards and five scores.

Sorenson had 76 catches for 1,406 yards and 10 touchdowns last season for the RedHawks.

Other signees include Coast Carolina running back Shermari Jones, Kansas wide receiver Kwamie Lassiter, Washington cornerback Brendan Radley-Hiles, Pittsburgh long snapper Cal Adomitis, Coastal Carolina wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh, Georgia Tech offensive tackle Devin Cochran, Mississippi defensive lineman Tariqious Tisdale, UTSA linebacker Clarence Hicks, Wisconsin wide receiver Kendric Pryor, Peru State defensive back Delonte Hood, Florida Atlantic offensive lineman and Colerain High School product Desmond Noel, Colorado linebacker Carson Wells and Florida State tight end Jordan Wilson.

Adomitis was rated as the best long snapper in the draft class, according to Brugler’s “The Beast” draft guide, and Wells was considered his 31st best edge rusher.

Taylor said college free agency would help fill the roster, but the team also could address needs with veterans still available on the market.

“We always have a target number for training camp that you want to carry, so however we fill that, whether it’s through college free agency — or OK, you don’t get it done in college free agency, so you evaluate what’s out there so that we have our number that we want to carry in camp,” Taylor said. “It’s not something that you immediately overreact to one day after the draft. We’ll talk through it. We don’t get on the grass with our players for another two weeks, and even then it’s not what it was 10 years ago with some of the 11-on-11 stuff we’re doing. So it’s not quite the rush to make sure that you’ve got all those positions filled. We’ll take our time and make sure we’re adding the right people.”

The Bengals begin offseason workouts Tuesday, and rookie minicamp is set for May 13.

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