Bengals Rumors

NFL Draft Rumors: Taylor, Ford, Sweat

Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor met with the Bengals on Tuesday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Taylor, who stands 6’5″ and 328 pounds, certainly has the size requirements favored by new Cincinnati offensive line coach Jim Turner, but it’s unclear if the ex-Gator will be available when the Bengals make their first-round selection at No. 11. Along with Jonah Williams (Alabama), Andre Dillard (Washington State), and Cody Ford (Oklahoma), Taylor is considered one of the best tackle prospects available in the 2019 draft. If selected by the Bengals, Taylor could immediately take over at right tackle, displacing the recently re-signed Bobby Hart, and would be a long-term option to replace Cordy Glenn on the blindside.

Here’s more on the 2019 NFL draft:

  • Speaking of Ford, the Oklahoma offensive lineman has been extremely busy during the pre-draft season. Per Aaron Wilson the Houston Chronicle, Ford has met with and/or worked out for the Patriots, Eagles, Buccaneers, Vikings, Texans, Cardinals, and Falcons. That’s in addition to his previously-reported stops with the Bengals and Panthers. Ford was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2018 and helped Oklahoma win the Joe Moore Award, given to the country’s best offensive line. A left guard in both 2016 and 2017, Ford shifted to right tackle for the 2018 campaign.
  • The Texans are meeting with Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat on Wednesday, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Sweat is considered of the best defensive ends in the draft (especially after blowing up the combine), so Houston would likely need to trade up from No. 23 overall in order to land him. After starting his collegiate career at Michigan State, Sweat spent two years with the Bulldogs, racking up 22.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss during that time.
  • Washington cornerback Byron Murphy has met with the Panthers, Chiefs, and Cardinals in addition to his visit with the Steelers, tweets Wilson. In 2018, Murphy earned a spot on the first-team All-Pac-12 list after putting up 37 tackles, four interceptions, and 13 interceptions. Regarded as a first-round pick by most observers, Murphy is the No. 6 overall player on Pro Football Focus’ draft board after allowing only a 47.7% completion percentage against and forcing 17 incompletions.
  • The Rams hosted Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram on Tuesday, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Abram, who has also met with the Cowboys and Cardinals, is part of a closely-clustered safety class that could start coming off the board at the end of the first round. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, notably, ranks Abram as the No. 1 safety prospect of 2019. Arbam posted two interceptions, three sacks, and nine tackles for loss last year.

Bengals Work Out RB Rod Smith

One of Ezekiel Elliott‘s backups the past two seasons, Rod Smith received an opportunity to potentially catch on elsewhere.

The Bengals worked out Smith recently, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). This is the first Smith-related news of the offseason.

A former Seahawks UDFA whom the Cowboys relied upon during Elliott’s 2017 suspension, Smith totaled 434 yards and five touchdowns from scrimmage during his first year as a Cowboys contributor. He averaged 4.2 yards per carry that season. However, Smith — older brother of Dallas linebacker Jaylon Smith — posted just a 2.9-yard average on 44 2018 carries.

Cincinnati has not added to its backfield this offseason, but the team is fairly well-stocked with Giovani Bernard backing up Joe Mixon. Though, little depth exists behind the Bengals’ top duo. 2018 UDFA Quinton Flowers resides as the only other running back on Cincinnati’s roster.

NFL Draft Notes: Giants, Haskins, Metcalf

The Giants will host Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins on a top 30 visit on Monday and Tuesday, a source tells NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). After the G-Men brought out the big guns for Haskins’ Pro Day, chatter is building about the Giants possibly targeting the signal caller with the No. 6 overall pick.

Fully expected to become a top-10 pick, Haskins also met with the Broncos (No. 10) and the Redskins (No. 15) last week. The Giants appear to be well in range, but teams tend to move up and reach for stud QBs. The Giants also have the firepower necessary to move up for Oklahoma star Kyler Murray, but they may prefer to spread the wealth and address other areas instead, including the pass rush.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

  • Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf visited the Ravens on Monday, Rapoport tweets. Metcalf could give them a much-needed shot in the arm at WR, but it’s not a given that he’ll be available when they’re called to the podium at No. 22. For now, their WR consists of new addition Seth Roberts, Willie Snead, Chris Moore, and 2018 draft picks Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott.
  • Speaking of the Ravens‘ WR need, they’ll host Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown on Monday, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). This year, the Ravens are set to pick at No. 22 overall with no picks in the second round due to last year’s Lamar Jackson trade.
  • More from Rapoport, who notes that Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell is visiting with the Bengals. Campbell is a very unlikely target for Cincinnati at No. 11 overall, but he could be a candidate for their second-round choice at No. 42. Last year, Campbell broke out with 90 catches for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns.
  • Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary will huddle up with the Seahawks and Raiders this week, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears.
  • Arizona State wide receiver will meet with the N’Keal Harry 49ers on Monday before traveling to the Seahawks, Pelissero hears. Projections for Harry are all over the board, but he appears to be a late-first to early-second round type.
  • Washington tackle Kaleb McGary will visit the Seahawks on Monday and the Falcons on Tuesday, Schefter hears (Twitter link). The Falcons’ No. 14 pick would probably be a bit high for McGary, who projects as a right tackle at the next level, but a trade-down scenario could bring him to Atlanta.
  • The Patriots have done “extra pre-draft” work on Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham and Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson, both of whom visited recently (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Versatile Oklahoma offensive lineman Cody Ford spent Friday visiting with the Bengals, who pick No. 11 (Twitter link via Rapoport). Ford was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2018 and helped Oklahoma win Joe Moore Award, given to the country’s best offensive line.

Draft Notes: Packers, Dillard, White, Fins

Midway through a rather notable offseason, given the recent behind-the-curtain look at their previous power structure, the Packers are investigating some high-end quarterback prospects. They are obviously set at sports’ marquee position, but with Aaron Rodgers set to turn 36 by season’s end, Green Bay is at a similar point compared to when it last made a major quarterback investment. The Packers will host Drew Lock on a visit Tuesday, Terez Paylor of Yahoo.com reports (on Twitter). They also tried to set up a summit with Daniel Jones, but the parties’ schedules did not line up, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (via Twitter). The Packers took Rodgers when Brett Favre was 36 and sat him for three years. While Green Bay pulling the trigger on a passer would be rather surprising, especially given Rodgers’ contract status, the team does have two first-round picks this year.

Here is the latest from the draft world, staying on the subject of quarterbacks:

  • Lock will also meet with the Chargers, per Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com (on Twitter). Teams have ramped up their signal-caller-related preparation, in the event Kyler Murray does not go No. 1, according to Robinson, who notes some teams believe this year’s passers could slide a bit should Murray not be the Cardinals’ choice atop the draft. Some modest steam picked up on this notion earlier Monday.
  • The Dolphins, who already met with Jones, will head to the Duke campus to work out the former Blue Devil starter, Rapoport reports (on Twitter). Teams only have a few more days to host prospects on “30” visits but can still work them out after that deadline passes. Miami will also host Michigan linebacker Devin Bush and Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Devin White‘s stock has risen during the pre-draft process, to the point he may be the rare off-ball linebacker to be picked in the top five. One of the teams holding such a selection, the Raiders, brought in White for a visit, Rapoport tweets. The Buccaneers, who hold pick No. 5, have been closely connected to the LSU ‘backer. The Raiders have the No. 4 overall pick. Oakland, which also holds the Nos. 24 and 27 selections, will meet with tight end Noah Fant, on Monday as well, Rapoport tweets. The Raiders lost their starting tight end of the past two seasons, Jared Cook, in free agency.
  • For weeks, the Jets have been viewed as a team that would love to trade down. They are meeting with a prospect Tuesday that would support the fact this is a consideration. Ed Oliver will visit the Jets, per Schefter (on Twitter). While the defensive tackle is a surefire first-round talent, he has not been mocked as a player who would be a consideration at No. 3 overall.
  • The Titans are visiting with defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, per Rapoport (on Twitter). This is the Notre Dame-developed defender’s second known visit, the first having come with the Saints recently. Tillery remains in rehab after surgery to repair a torn shoulder labrum.
  • Not much has surfaced about which teams are researching an Andre Dillard pick. That has changed. The Washington State tackle prospect is visiting the Falcons on Monday and will meet with the Chargers later this week, Schefter tweets. Additionally, Schefter adds the first-round offensive line hopeful has already visited or worked out for a host of teams — the Giants, Jets, Dolphins, Ravens, Titans, Panthers, Vikings, Jaguars, Bills, Texans, Bengals, Packers, Redskins.

Andy Dalton To Be Fully Healthy For Offseason Program

The Bengals are heading into a transitional year. After a very disappointing 2018 season, the Bengals finally moved on from longtime coach Marvin Lewis. To replace him, they hired 35-year-old whizkid Zac Taylor away from the Rams.

Part of the reason 2018 was so disappointing was because of the season-ending injury quarterback Andy Dalton suffered. Fortunately for Cincinnati, Dalton is fully recovered from his thumb surgery and will be a full-go when OTA practices start, according to Geoff Hobson of the team’s official site. There were murmurs earlier this offseason that the team could look to move on from Dalton and go younger at the position, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. That being said, owner Mike Brown made it clear the team wasn’t in a rush to extend him recently.

“I think it’s a good year for (Dalton) to show like he can, like we think he will. After he re-establishes himself we would want to get together with him and see if we can extend it. I think Andy is a good player and that he will rebound off last year. He was hurt. We lost so many other pieces. It fell apart, but if he’s healthy and we stay healthy enough, I have confidence in him,” Brown said, issuing a slightly less than ringing endorsement.

Dalton was having a decent enough season before going down, but unfortunately he hasn’t been anything better than decent the past few years. Even though the team has publicly proclaimed confidence in him, it still wouldn’t be surprising to see the Bengals draft a quarterback early later this month.

The Bengals’ offense completely collapsed once Jeff Driskel took over following the injury, which at least showed the Bengals’ struggles weren’t all about Dalton. He wasn’t the only high profile Bengal to have their season cut short with an injury, as star receiver A.J. Green was limited to just nine games. Green struggled with a toe injury all year and was hurt a lot in 2016 as well, but Brown said at the same time he made his comments on Dalton that the team wanted to extend Green. Hobson writes that he expects the Bengals “to ease Green along” this offseason, whereas Dalton should be a full-go for practices.

If Dalton doesn’t make major strides under Taylor, it’s highly possible if not probable that the team will move on next offseason. One thing that’s helped him stick this far has been his reasonable contract. Dalton has two years left on his deal with a total of $33.5MM owed to him. It’s a pivotal year for Dalton, and the fact that he’ll be fully healthy to begin picking up the new system is a very positive development.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/10/19

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

  • Waived: G Parker Ehinger, DT Aziz Shittu

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bengals Notes: Polite, Sanders

  • The Bengals met with Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite last week, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The pre-draft process has not been kind to Polite, who had been viewed as a potential first-round selection. Polite performed poorly during athletic testing, while his interviews with clubs were also widely panned. Additionally, Polite is battling currently battling through hamstring injuries. Cincinnati has edge depth with Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson, Sam Hubbard, and Kerry Wynn in tow, but Polite would give the team another option.
  • Penn State running back Miles Sanders has been vaulting up draft boards (he currently ranks one spot behind Collier at No. 46 on Jeremiah’s list), and he has a busy schedule ahead of him. Sanders is scheduled to work out for/meet with the Bears, Eagles, Steelers, Ravens, Bills, Cowboys, Falcons, Titans, Bengals, Panthers, Buccaneers, and Colts. In 2018, Sanders’ only season as a starter, he posted 1,274 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 220 attempts.

Bengals Meet With Rashan Gary

  • Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary visited with the Bengals today and will visit the Giants later this week, reports NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). Gary is a consensus top-10 pick, and he could fall right into the Giants lap at No. 6. The Bengals currently have the 11th-overall pick, although we heard that the team could be interested in moving up. The lineman earned first-team All-Big 10 honors the past two seasons, and he finished his junior campaign with 3.5 sacks.

    [SOURCE LINK]

Montez Sweat Visiting Bengals

  • A sixth team scheduled a Montez Sweat summit. The Bengals brought in the Mississippi State-developed defensive end on Monday night, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio tweets. He has already met with or is scheduled to visit the 49ers, Raiders, Bills, Packers and Bucs. Sweat blazed to a 4.41-second 40-yard dash at the Combine and seems likely to go off the board in the top 10.
  • Staying on the subject of draft-eligible ends, Jaylon Ferguson‘s extensive April tour of NFL cities continues. Among the teams on his reported 22-visit tour: the Bills, Giants, Colts, Eagles, Cowboys, Titans and Rams, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Ferguson met with the Bills on Monday; he will head southeast for his Giants powwow next. His visits with the Colts and Eagles are on tap for this week, with the Cowboys, Titans and Rams meetings are slated for next week. The Bucs and Bengals were already on the Louisiana Tech-produced pass rusher’s docket.

Draft Notes: Bush, Oliver, Gary

Michigan linebacker Devin Bush is meeting with the Giants tonight, and the visit will last until Monday, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. New York, armed with the Nos. 6 and 17 overall picks, will be one of the most interesting clubs to watch in the draft given the uncertainty surrounding its QB position. Despite that uncertainty, Big Blue could very well use both first-round selections on defensive playmakers, and Bush, one of the best LBs in the draft, would be a good fit with the 17th-overall selection.

Now for more draft rumblings from around the league:

  • The Eagles have three picks in the first two rounds of the draft, and Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com expects the club to be very aggressive in trying to trade up. That will be especially true if Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver starts to fall, as Shorr-Parks believes Philadelphia will want to move up the draft board to land him. The team either has hosted, or will host, Oliver on an official visit.
  • The Raiders recently met with Oliver and Penn State offensive lineman Connor McGovern, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Rapoport adds that the Colts have met with Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary.
  • After losing out on Odell Beckham Jr., the 49ers still have a major need at the WR position. Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area believes there is a good chance the club uses its No. 36 overall pick on a wideout, and he names A.J. Brown and Deebo Samuel as legitimate possibilities. San Francisco either has hosted, or will host, both players.
  • We learned several weeks ago that Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins would meet with five teams, including the Broncos and Redskins, and Rapoport tweets that those visits will take place this week. Denver and Washington are among the clubs doing their homework on all of this year’s top passers.
  • The Bengals are reportedly considering using their No. 11 overall pick on a QB, and while Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com believes it is unlikely Cincinnati goes that route, she concedes it is a definite possibility (Twitter link).