Bengals start signing undrafted free agents

Right at the draft's conclusion, the Bengals signed Cameron Siskowic -- outside linebacker for Illinois State.

"That was my first choice as far as free agency because of who they have and what type of situation I would be in as far as making the team," Siskowic said. "I pretty much got the offer in the middle of the seventh round.

Siskowic -- 6'1", 225 pounds -- was the Gateway Conference Defensive Player of the Year leading the league in tackles in each of the past two seasons.

Here's Siskowic's draft notes:

03/09/07 - The Illinois State football program hosted nearly a dozen NFL scouts on Friday for its 2007 Pro Day on the Illinois State University campus. Redbird prospects including Pierre Jackson, Lamont Lagrone, Pierre Rembert, Laurént Robinson, Cameron Siskowic, James Temple, Jake Weber and Ryan Hoffman were each weighed and measured for the scouts. The players went through numerous drills testing agility, speed, quickness, strength and ball control inside the Owen Strength and Conditioning Center and Horton Field House. LB Siskowic was timed between 4.65-4.67 in the 40-Yard Dash and had 20 bench reps - Illinois State Athletics.

02/05/07 - Former Illinois State linebacker Cameron Siskowic collected 13 tackles to lead The Nation to a 24-20 win over Texas in the first annual Texas vs. The Nation Collegiate All-Star Bowl at Sun Bowl Stadium Saturday night. Siskowic's 13-tackle performance, including two tackles for loss, resulted in being named the game's defensive most valuable player. It marked the second straight season in which a Redbird has been named the MVP at a senior all-star game, as Siskowic joined Brent Hawkins and Ryan Hoffman, who were named the defensive and special teams MVP, respectively, at the 2006 Hula Bowl.

12/13/06 - 2006 AP 1-AA All-American First Team: The honor is the second first team all-America accolade for LB Cameron Siskowic, a finalist for the 2006 Buck Buchanan Award. He was named to the Walter Camp All-America team last week. The 2006 Gateway Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year led the league in tackles for a second straight season. The San Diego, Calif., native finished with 154 tackles, including 75 solo stops. He also finished his final Redbird season with five tackles for loss, two quarterback sacks and two interceptions, while forcing three fumbles.

Go Redbirds.com Bio Page.

Siskowic signs with Cincinnati Bengals [Pantagraph]

Mark Curnutte comments on his blog that the team is also bringing in Earl Everett, an inside linebacker for the Florida Gators. ESPN flagged Everett as not being able to "retain and learn the system".

Strengths: Possesses good height and the frame to add bulk. Plays faster than 40-time indicates. He's at his best when protected and given room to roam. He displays good upper body power. He can be an explosive hitter for his size. He can match up one-on-one versus most running backs out of the backfield. Shows the athletic ability and speed to turn and run downfield with faster backs and occasionally even slot wide receivers. His ball skills are improving and he is becoming a bigger playmaker in the passing game.

Weaknesses: His instincts are very much questionable. He still diagnoses play-action too slowly, which leads to false steps and improper positioning. He must improve his read-and-react skills. Will get engulfed at the point of attack by bigger blockers, especially when he's playing too high. He occasionally will run around blockers that he should take on, which leaves his defense vulnerable. Seems too hesitant at times. Lacks ideal awareness as a pass rusher and gets caught up in traffic at the line of scrimmage too much. Marginal score on the Wonderlic Test.

Overall: Everett played in all 13 games (six starts) as a true freshman in 2003 and recorded 52 tackles, three tackles for loss, and three sacks. He started 11 games (missed the Vanderbilt game; concussion) in 2004 and finished the season with 74 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. In 2005, Everett started all 12 games and registered 72 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, and one forced fumble. He started all 13 games he played in 2006 (sat out Western Carolina game with minor ankle injury), and made 85 total tackles, six tackles for loss, and one sack.

Everett plays faster than his 40-time indicates. Unfortunately, he lacks ideal size and his recognition skills leave much to be desired. With that in mind; it wouldn't be surprising to see Everett slip to the second-day of the 2007 draft.

From NFL.com.

Overview

Everett's explosive quickness is one of his traits that consistently stands out on the football field. The cat-quick defender excels in man coverage and has the acceleration to stay stride-for-stride with the receiver throughout the route. Many scouts feel Everett has some of the best athletic ability of any linebacker in the 2007 NFL Draft class.

Everett was a CNN/SI, SuperPrep and Parade All-American linebacker at South Sumter High School. He was rated one of the top 15 prospects in the state of Florida by SuperPrep, and ranked second among the state's linebackers (sixth nationally) by Rivals.com. The three-time Class 3A first-team all-state and all-Central Florida choice was also named first-team all-area by three different associations in 2001. He also played in the 2003 Florida-California All-Star Game.

Everett led the team to three consecutive regional championships and a 45-10 combined record as a four-year varsity player. He was elected team captain for his senior season and was a versatile athlete who played quarterback, tight end, middle linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end, safety and kick returner during his senior season.

He was the starting quarterback during the state playoffs in 2002, but missed most of the regular season recovering from an appendectomy. For his career, Everett recorded 232 tackles, including 13 sacks, and had seven interceptions, six fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles. He also gained 1,423 yards on 159 carries (10.1 avg) with 27 touchdowns and completed 72 passes for 1,159 yards and 16 scores. He also picked up 523 yards on 21 catches over his career.

Everett enrolled at Florida in 2003. He chose the Gators over Nebraska, Florida State, Louisiana State and Miami. He played in 13 games that year, earning Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team honors. He started five contests at strong-side outside linebacker and started in the middle vs. Louisiana State. He collected 52 tackles (33 solos) with three sacks and also deflected two passes while participating in 460 plays.

Everett took over weak-side outside linebacker duties in 2004, earning All-SEC second-team accolades while playing in 11 games (missed the Vanderbilt contest after he suffered a concussion). He finished second on the squad with 74 tackles (51 solos) and was credited with 4½ sacks, 5½ stops behind the line of scrimmage and a forced fumble. He also knocked down four passes and saw action in 753 plays.

Everett led the squad with 72 tackles (39 solos) in 12 games as a junior in 2005. He came up with 2½ sacks; he caused one fumble and had one pressure. Everett deflected four passes, intercepted two others and gained 32 yards on a fake punt.

An ankle sprain sidelined Everett for the 2006 Western Carolina game, but he started the team's other 13 contests. For the second successive year, he led the team in tackles, totaling a career-high 85 hits (50 solos), including one sack, six stops for losses and four pressures. He also broke up two passes.

In 49 games at Florida, Everett started 42 times. He finished his career with 283 tackles (173 solos), 11 sacks for minus-56 yards and 18 stops for losses totaling 69 yards. He was credited with five quarterback pressures and caused two fumbles. He deflected 12 passes and intercepted two others for seven yards in returns. His only rushing attempt for the Gators netted 32 yards.

Analysis

Positives: Has a lean-looking frame, but has overall muscle development, a V-shaped torso, good body control and excellent quickness … Possesses exceptional lateral agility to string plays wide … Has the loose hips and flexibility to get back into the play quickly when he over-pursues … Runs with a short pitter-patter style and does a nice job of lifting his feet off trash and avoiding blockers on the move … Uses his sudden closing burst to attack and neutralize running backs turning the corner … Athletic mover who is best when playing in space rather than engaging bigger blockers at the line of scrimmage … Maintains his balance flowing to the ball and demonstrates good hip snap turning out of his breaks … Is a hard worker in the weight room and a good program player who does the little extras; the coaches rave about his leadership qualities and work he does mentoring the younger players … Very business-like on the field and off, having no known off-field issues … Does a Very good job adjusting on the move and shows good urgency closing on the ball once he locates it … Gets most of his production chasing the play; he is quite effective picking a lane to penetrate into the backfield … He has the "quick trigger" moves flowing laterally and covers lots of ground thanks to his outstanding range … When he fits up working inside, he hits with good pop on contact, but is an even better striker when working in space … Has the rare speed and nimble feet to mirror the receiver in man coverage, sinking his hips and dropping his pads to come out of transition with no wasted steps … His ability to run deep in the zone and his foot speed could see him excel as a Cover 2 weak-side linebacker or possibly shift to strong safety … Does well on trail coverage vs. tight ends and backs, showing the ability to stop and go quickly, even when changing direction … Very good gunner on special teams.

Negatives: Has good weight-room figures, but his frame appears too lean and his strength fails to translate to the field when working along the line (gets pushed and walled off due to a lack of bulk) … Gets by mostly on his athletic ability and quickness; he is slow to locate the ball in tight quarters and lacks a feel for zone coverage; he will bite on play-action and misdirection … Needs several reps to retain plays and might not be able to digest a complicated playbook … Gets covered up too much when trying to shoot the inside rush lanes and needs to be more active with his hands to keep the bigger blockers from getting under his jersey … Because of his size, some teams might consider him a middle-linebacker prospect, but he does a poor job of making reads and is not the type you want calling assignments (best when allowed to roam and play off the line) … Has good upper-body strength and can mirror the receiver, but needs to be more aggressive with his hands in attempts to press and reroute the opponent … More of a finesse type who prefers to run around and avoid blocks rather than blowing up into the opponent … Has the speed to make explosive breaks on the ball, but needs to play with better control; he often over-pursues the play … Looks lost tracking the ball in flight, making him a liability playing deep in the secondary … Has marginal hands, double-catching or letting the ball into his body … Despite his good leaping ability, he doesn't always time his leaps to get to the ball at its high point (12 pass deflections in 49 games).

Compares To: Alex Lewis, Detroit -- Like Lewis, Everett has very good athletic ability, great foot speed and an explosive closing burst. But also like Lewis, he lacks the size to be an effective inside-the-box type and is best when making plays on the move. Lewis has much more courage taking on offensive linemen; Everett tries to finesse and elude rather than take on blockers. Still, if given the opportunity to roam in a Cover 2 formation, he will be much more productive at the next level.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.57 in the 40-yard dash … 350-pound bench press … Bench presses 225 pounds 17 times … 420-pound squat … 35½-inch vertical jump … 10-0 broad jump … 4.13 20-yard shuttle … 31¾-inch arm length … 9-inch hands … Right-handed … 10/23 Wonderlic score.

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