University of Cincinnati offensive lineman Jason Kelce recently met with the Cincinnati Bengals, according to National Football Post's Aaron Wilson. Kelce, recording the best 40-yard dash among offensive linemen at the NFL Combine at 4.89 seconds, played center and guard at UC.
ESPN's DraftTracker, ranking Kelce as the eighth-best center prospect coming into the NFL Draft, grades him with average pass protection, awareness, toughness with a below average grade on run blocking.
While footwork is inconsistent, moves well laterally and has the potential to develop into an effective zone blocker. Flashes a strong punch and quick enough to establish position. Drives legs once locked on but doesn't generate enough push. Plays high and lower body strength appears adequate at best. Sound initial hand placement but still slides off too many blocks. Doesn't lock onto defender's chest plate or roll hips into blocks with any kind of consistency. Lunges and ducks head too much. Arms appear to be on the shorter side and defensive linemen can keep him off their frame by locking out. Quick and has enough body control to cover up linebackers but doesn't always take sound angles to second level assignments.
Kelce walked on at UC as a linebacker, moving to the offensive line during a preseason practice in 2007, eventually winning two Second Team All-Big East Conference awards in 2009 and 2010.
The Bengals always have a need for interior linemen, especially with Bobbie Williams heading into the final year of his existing contract. Kyle Cook, Nate Livings and Evan Mathis have expired contracts, becoming free agents once there's labor peace between the owners and players.