UPDATE 9:37 PM
BENGALS THIRD ROUND PICK: Frostee Rucker, DE/USC
Strengths: Possesses adequate size and has the potential to improve ability to hold ground when working against the run. Takes adequate pursuit angles, shows adequate athletic ability and flashes the ability to close down cutback lanes. Has adequate range and can make plays in pursuit. Shows adequate initial quickness and flashes the ability to shoot gaps. Possesses good lateral mobility, shows good balance and can redirect inside after starting outside. Has some experience playing linebacker and can drop into coverage when running zone blitzes.
Weaknesses: Doesn't play with a wide base, doesn't consistently play with good leverage and will have some problems holding ground when teams run right at him. Lacks ideal upper body strength and takes too long to shed blocks once reached. Doesn't always play with great discipline, doesn't always show a great understanding of game situations and gets caught out of position at times. Doesn't play with a great motor, isn't always relentless in pursuit and is inconsistent. Lacks great top-end speed and isn't fast enough to regularly turn the corner. Lacks great lower body strength and isn't a powerful bull rusher that can consistently collapse the pocket. Missed some of 2004 spring practice because of a toe injury that required surgery and he missed 2005 spring practices while recovering from toe and shoulder surgeries, so durability is somewhat of a concern.
Overall: Colorado State red-shirted Rucker during his true freshman season in 2001 and he had to sit the 2002 season out after transferring to Southern Cal. He moved from outside linebacker to defensive end during the Trojans 2003 spring practices and he started five of the 13 games he appeared in that year. Rucker started 12 of the 13 games he appeared in during the 2004 season. He started all 13 games in 2005, recording 14 tackles-for-loss, 6.5 sacks and one interception. Rucker has enough quickness, athletic ability and size to develop into an effective situational reserve for an NFL team that employs a one-gap scheme. However, he simply is not dominant in any one area. He lacks ideal mass and power to consistently hold his ground versus the run and he isn't fast enough to develop into a consistent threat as a situational edge rusher. As such, Rucker is only worth a mid-round draft selection in 2006.
Rucker worked out at the Combine. He ran his 40s in 4.97 and 4.93 and recorded a 29?-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-2 long jump, a 4.29 short shuttle, a 7.23 three-cone drill and 19 bench presses. He ran better on April 2 at the USC Pro Day (4.77 and 4.81). He started school at Colorado State and was redshirted, with the plan for him to play outside linebacker. He transferred to USC and did not play in 2002. He started five games in 2003. He then started 25 games in 2004 and 2005. He has some pass-rush ability; he has a quick burst. He has good, not great, athletic ability. He had 14 sacks the past two years, but he needs to get stronger. He has started at a top program for two years.
OTC Draft says:
Frostee Rucker only had one year as a full-time starter, playing on a very talented defensive line at USC. He has an extremely quick first step which allows him to beat most tackles off the snap of the ball. He is a very good run defender and a solid pass rusher. He makes a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage and excels at making tackles in the open field. Frostee is a pretty good pass rusher but he lacks great closing speed getting to the quarterback. He isn?t very strong at the point of attack and may need to bulk up and increase his strength to be an every down defensive end at the professional level. Frostee Rucker lacks a great deal of experience and has some things he needs to improve on, but he is a versatile player who could project as a defensive end or outside linebacker in the NFL. He should be selected on the second day of the 2006 NFL draft.
UPDATE 7:20 PM
BENGALS SECOND ROUND PICK:Andrew Whitworth, OT/LSU
If this pick isn't telling enough, you haven't followed the whole Willie Anderson side-show in recent days. Either that, or the Bengals are finished thinking backup Stacey Andrews as a project. Or Anderson's age and body breaking down is causing the team to plan for the future now. In all honesty, I see this is the ball rolling to getting ready for an Anderson-less Cincinnati team after the 2006 season. And yes, I'm well aware Whitworth played left tackle.
UPDATE 9:30PM: Bengals.com: Bengals shock with LT Whitworth
On the Clock Draft says:
Andrew Whitworth has tons of experience at the tackle position. He was a four-year starter at LSU who played against top competition every year in the SEC. He has proven to be a very durable player who hasn?t missed a single game due to injury. He has outstanding size for a tackle and the frame to get even bigger. He is a technically sound player with good football smarts. Whitworth also has a good work ethic and is a true leader both on and off the field. He is a dominating run blocker who plays with a real ?mean streak?. He isn?t the greatest athlete and he does have trouble getting to the second level at times. He has been a successful pass blocker in college, only giving up one sack as a junior. This however, is an area where he could still improve. He is a better run blocker than he is a pass blocker and he does have trouble against speed rushers at times. He is quick off the snap and has long arms which allow him to keep defenders away from his body. He has good height but he tends to play too upright. He needs to learn to bend his knees more and get better leverage. Whitworth lacks the athleticism and footwork you look for in a left tackle. He could be a player that begins his career at right tackle, then moves to the left side a couple years down the road. Andrew Whitworth doesn?t have the upside that some of the other tackles in the class have; however, he one of the most prepared to come in and start in the NFL immediately. He has a chance to be a first or second round draft pick in April.
ESPN Insider says:
Strengths: Is an experienced player. Has a terrific frame and great overall size. Is tall, has good bulk and has muscular arms. He is massive and can be absolutely overpowering at the POA. More of a mauler than anything. He has decent initial quickness and takes good angles as a run blocker. He has explosive initial pop and will jar defenders with his hand punch. He works to finish in the running game and will consistently generate a new LOS as a run blocker. He has adequate quickness in his pass-pro set. Uses his long arms to force a wide arc. He can anchor vs. the bull rush. Also does a great job of sustaining in pass pro once he has locked on. He has big, strong hands and a powerful upper body. Is a hard worker and intelligent player. A bit of an overachiever who works hard for everything he gets.
Weaknesses: He's not a great athlete and he lacks good mobility. He is a bit top-heavy. Plays too erect at times and will occasionally get caught waist-bending. He can look stiff in space. He has decent quickness in his pass-pro set but when he will get over-extended at times and will struggle to redirect back inside. His lateral movement skills are below average. He will struggle to consistently reach the second-level as a downfield run blocker and he's inconsistent when it comes to hitting a moving target in space. He will get to the point too late and off-balance at times, which leads to him lunging and leaving his feet.
Overall: Whitworth started all 13 games at left tackle as a redshirt freshman in 2002, when he graded out at nearly 90-percent in each game. He started all 14 games at left tackle as a sophomore in 2003 and started all 12 games at left tackle as a junior in 2004, when he led his team in snaps from scrimmage (793), allowed only one sack and was whistled for just five penalties all season. As a senior in 2005, he remained a fulltime starter at left tackle. Whitworth finished his career at LSU with 52 career starts. Whitworth has a massive frame and has developed into a mauler in the running game. He shows the size to engulf defenders at the point of attack and he has good overall technique. He will give a great effort and will bring a lot of intelligence and durability to the table. However, Whitworth is not a great athlete and he does not possess explosive qualities. In fact, he's a bit of an overachiever. He lacks great range as a run blocker and he will struggle versus elite edge rushers in the NFL. He played his entire collegiate career at left tackle but is clearly a better fit at the right tackle position in the NFL. Whitworth projects as a second or third round prospect in the 2006 class.
5:02Well fellas, this was fun. I've got a date with another sporting event (see post below). I will update the Bengals picks as they happen (at least try to). I hope you enjoyed my comments during the draft and hope your favorite team (if not the Bengals) gets what you hope.
5:01pm - The Gaints picked up Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, BC, to conclude the first round.
4:59pm - Seattle picked up Kelly Jennings, CB, Miami.
"Fum da OOO" (bad Michael Irvin impression)
4:58pm - I put up a poll to see what people think of the Bengals pick.
4:55pm - LenDale White seems to like himself a lot. Not a very modest person, is he? To each their own. In any case, he's most likely going to the second round and he's not "taking any calls". Give me a break. Note to Bengals: don't pick up this ass. (sorry for the rant, don't much like his personality)
4:45pm - Joseph Addai is drafted by the Colts. This is one of those immediate needs for the Colts to replace James. I'm interested to see what Blue thinks.
4:43pm - The Jets picked up Nick Mangold. The FIFTH Buckeye picked up in the first round. I'm bursting with pride in my scarlet colors.
4:39pm - Marcedes Lewis is drafted by Jacksonville. Honestly, picking up Joseph, it makes me wonder, with Lewis and Pope still available, why the Bengals couldn't go that route. Perhaps they like Fasano in the second from Notre Dame or expect Pope to drop. Joseph is NOT an immediate need, which could be accurately point towards the tight end position if anything.
4:36pm - SI.com says of Joseph:
BIO: Junior college transfer coming off a breakout campaign. Posted 55/4/9 last year after playing in just two games during his initial season with the program.
POSITIVES: Nice-sized athlete with excellent upside for the next level. Physical, will mix it up and defends the run. Quick moving in reverse, displays an excellent break to the ball as well as a burst of closing speed. Gets vertical to defend the throw and adjusts in mid-air for the interception. Follows receivers across the field or mirrors them down the flanks and positions himself to make a play on the ball.
NEGATIVES: Displays a lot of hesitation in his game and is not instinctive. Misses tackles. Prefers to side-shuffle.
ANALYSIS: A developing cornerback, Joseph flashes the ability to completely shut down opponents. Still raw and a prospect who needs a lot of development yet offers the underlying skills to start in the NFL.
4:34pm - Getting a little tired of the Jets fans crying, whinning and booing after almost every pick. Guys, shutup!
4:34pm - My cable modem keeps going in and out. Must be overloading the dag on thing reading up on Joseph.
Anyway, Buffalo picked up John McCargo and Carolina picked up DeAngelo Williams.
4:24pm - FoxSports.com says of Joseph:
CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: There is no question that Johnathan Joseph (hey, two no-related Josephs back-to-back) has skill, but he started only one season at South Carolina because of a broken foot in 2004. Finally a playoff team, the Bengals don't have a lot of pressing needs. They would have liked a defensive linemen, but their choices were gone. Basically, Joseph was the best available athlete left. Most teams had him rated this high in the first round, so it's a solid choice. The Bengals need to be able to stop those AFC passing offenses.
SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: As the Bengals take Jonathan Joseph of South Carolina, I am approached by an IGN.com writer. In casual conversation, he tells me that Chad Johnson advanced to the finals of the "Madden Bowl" last year. Not impressed? Well, he also went through the entire tournament playing with a controller in one hand, and a cell phone in the other. The Jonathan Joseph pick comes and goes and there's NO fan reaction. They might as well have announced "Hootie and the Blowfish will be playing a concert downstairs after the draft." Crickets.
4:23pm - Isn't the point to run a blog to, well, blog? NFL.com set up a blog that hasn't been updated since 12:59pm. It's currently 4:23pm.
4:19pm - Bengals.com suggests Joseph will be groomed to eventually take over for James:
Joseph could be groomed to replace starting left cornerback Tory James at some point. James is just one year removed from a Pro Bowl berth, but turns 33 next month and is heading into the last year of his contract. Josesph was the third corner to come off the board Saturday. The Bengals must believe they can get a tight end with their next pick, the 55th in the second round.
Also, the Steelers made the trade for the Giants slot and picked up Santonio Holmes.
4:16pm - Seems the biggest weakness, as I'm reading various reports I'll post here in due time, is Joseph?s experience.
4:12pm - ESPN Insider analyzes Joseph:
Strengths: A fast-rising prospect with explosive speed. Is a fluid athlete with very good initial quickness and COD skills. He shows the ability to turn-and-run without losing much in transition. Is quick out of his pedal and shows good closing burst. Is able to make up a lot of ground when the ball is in the air. He shows good leaping ability and will challenge for the ball in traffic. Possesses natural playmaking instincts and very good ball skills. Is aggressive in run support. Willing and fills hard. Shows adequate strength and is an efficient tackler in space. Has some experience as a return specialist and showed some promise in that area both as a PR and KOR.
Weaknesses: Lacks ideal playing experience. Only played one full season at DI-A level. Shows inconsistent technique. Comes out of his pedal too high at times and will get off balance in those instances. Has a tendency to gamble and jump routes prematurely. Looks less comfortable in zone coverage and must improve his overall awareness in that facet. Durability is a concern following broken foot in 2004.
Overall: Joseph earned All-Conference honors as a defensive back at Coffeyville Junior College in 2003. He transferred to South Carolina prior to the 2004 season and earned a starting cornerback position for the first two games before he suffered a season-ending broken foot in the first quarter of the Georgia game. Joseph returned as a fulltime starter in 2005 and finished the season with 55 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions and nine broken up passes in 12 games. He also averaged 23.5 yards on six kickoff returns and returned one punt for two yards in 2005. Joseph showed an awful lot of intriguing qualities in his one full season as a starter at the DI-A collegiate level. He has adequate size, excellent speed and natural playmaking instincts and ball skills. Joseph also supports the run hard and is a solid tackler, which should lend to him contributing on special teams right away in the NFL. However, the uncertainty generated by lack of experience and durability issues makes Joseph somewhat of a dangerous proposition. From what we've seen of him in comparatively limited viewing, Joseph possesses the potential to develop into a difference maker as a fulltime starting cornerback in the NFL. Overall, Joseph grades out as a second round prospect.
On the Clock Draft says:
Johnathan Joseph has a good combination of size and athleticism for a cornerback. He has great speed, fluid hips and sure hands. He has proven to be effective in both man and zone coverages. He is a physical corner who will jam his receiver at the line and step up and support the run as well. He is a very good run defender and a solid tackler. Joseph lacks a great deal of experience against top competition, having only started one season since transferring to South Carolina from Coffeyville Junior College. Too often he will rely on his pure athleticism alone. He will get beat at times but he does have excellent recovery speed. He needs to refine his overall technique to be as effective at the professional level. Johnathan Joseph is still a bit raw, but he has a great deal of upside and should be a first day pick in the 2006 NFL draft.
4:08pm - The Bengals picked up Johnathon Joesph. Interesting pick, but this just screams project. This isn't bad honestly. With Tory James, Deltha O'Neal, and Keiwan Ratliff, a guy as "raw" as Joesph, along with other cornerbacks under contract, it will give a young guy like this some time before he's thrown into the fire.
4:05pm - I don't care what anyone says, Suzy Kolber is hot.
3:58pm - Tampa Bay picks up Davin Joseph, the first guard, and second overall offensive lineman picked up in the draft.
The BENGALS are on the clock
I admit it, I'm a little nervous. Chris Berman notes, "We?ve been on the air for four hours, and the Bengals have yet to pick". No kidding. It's nice to wait four hours before the Bengals are brought up in conversation.
3:54pm - Romain noodles or PB&J? Both have their qualities that make great economical sense. I do have a steak thawing, but thought I'd save it for the race tomorrow. Whooo, these teams think they have a difficult choice with their players.
3:44pm - The 49ers picked up Manny Lawson, DE, NC State. Honestly, I don't have a single good word to say about San Francisco. The Bengals only two visits to the Super Bowl were destroyed by the 49ers. I hope San Francisco goes through an "Age of Helplessism" (term I use to describe the 1992-2002 Bengals) for all I care.
3:40pm - The Pats picked up Laurence Maroney, RB out of Minnesota. I figured the Pats would go after someone in the secondary to rebuild their depth. But the ESPN guys are right, Dillon is in a severe downward spiral in terms of health.
From a Bengals perspective, trading Dillon in '04 was a great move. Not only was he re-firing his spatula to flip burgers at McDonalds again (something he said in regards to a contract dispute earlier in his career), but Cincinnati picked up New England's draft pick who ended up being Madieu Williams.
3:36pm - We're heading into the 8th inning and the Reds pitching is still owning the Astros. ;-)
3:34pm - Mental note. 10 cups of coffee in 4 hours is great for exercising. Getting up and down for the bathroom burns some serious calories -- and wearing me out. I?m sure there?s a home journal or exercise magazine that supports my theory somewhere.
3:29pm - The Chiefs pick up Tamba Hali, DE from PSU.
3:26pm - I've often said there's only three type of people that wear sunglasses indoors.
1. Blind or people with deformities.
2. Race car drivers -- it's a culture I guess.
3. ______ <-- mean curse word here that begins with an "A" and ends with a "hole".
3:20pm - The Chargers picked up Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie is the third cornerback picked up. With two safeties already gone, it makes you wonder if the Bengals will now go tight end.
3:18pm - Blogging the Boys is pretty happy with their pick.
Update [2006-4-29 15:16:41 by Grizz]: - Bobby Carpenter is the newest Dallas Cowboy and I couldn't be happier. Just what we needed to fill out our defense. Carpenter told the Ticket he can play outside or inside, said his Dad told him Parcells is a brutally honest guy, but will get the best out him. Said he might have to cut his hair off because Dallas is so hot. Welcome to the Dallas Cowboys, Bobby Carpenter.Grizz, Carpenter is a GREAT pick!
3:06pm - The Cowboys picked up Bobby Carpenter. Very nice. That makes three Buckeyes in the first round -- tied with FSU. Carpenter, from my non-Kiper brain -- is very versatile. He rushes the quarterback well and has incredible instinct. He was overshadowed by the great A.J Hawk. Make no mistake about it though, Carpenter is a complete stud.
2:53pm - The Vikings, on time, picked up Iowa linebacker, Chad Greenway. Hey, baby steps right? First step, get pick on time, second step, make selection. We all learn from our mistakes at some point.
This makes the sixth consecutive defensive player picked in the draft.
2:48pm - The Busch series, Aaron's 312 is coming up here in a few minutes. I love DVR technology. I'll record the race while watching the first round of the draft. After that, I'll monitor the draft via ESPN.com and start the race. The cool thing? I get to fast-forward through all the commercials. Yea, I'm a guy with happy fingers on the remote that hates commercials.
Rich Aurilia hit a homer putting the Reds up 5-2.
2:44pm - Miami picked up Jason Allen. Seven to go.
2:42pm - I swear I have ADD. Here's another irrelevant post. Elliot Sadler won the pole for the Aaron's 499 tomorrow with Stewart, Edwards, Jarrett, and Kurt "dumbo" Busch in the top five.
The Reds are beating the 'Stros 4-2 after a four run fourth, Bengals picking 24th; what's with four?
2:32pm - The Rams picked up Tye Hill, CB/Clemson. Maybe the new regime in St. Louis is finally getting off the offensive kick. I have one suggestion for the Rams, get out of the dome. I've never believed having a dome helps. I think teams like Detroit and Minnesota have an incredible advantage with the cold. Green Bay is known for this and in most instances, the environment has benefited them more times than not. Sorry for the completely irrelevant thought on Domes. Really has nothing to do with the draft.
2:28pm - The Eagles picked up Brodrick Bunkley out of Florida State. This makes the fourth defensive lineman picked in the draft. So far defense is winning with eight picks to the offense's six.
2:23pm - OK, we're more than half way to the 24th pick. Which means another two hours before we know whom the Bengals will pick up. Most suggest defense while others look at tight end. Lewis and Pope are still available and my hope, primarily because I've seen him so much, was Cincinnati picking up Whitner.
But a few days ago I posted an "insider" info piece on Lance McAlister's blog suggesting the team is looking at Jason Allen for their first pick.
However, with O'Neal, James, and Ratliff still under contract, the Bengals truly need a pass rushing defender. So if I were a betting man, I'd think the team would go defensive end. But what do I know? (answer: not much).
2:15pm - The Browns picked up Kamerion Wimbley. As a Bengals fan, the Browns are the one I'm keeping a watchful eye for. With free agent pick ups, two kids recovering from injury that were first round picks in the past, whoo-boy. They could announce a big presence this sseason. Still hate them though.
2:06pm - So the Ravens gave up a 6th round pick. Mark S. of ESPN isn't that impressed with Ngata -- taking plays off, not a factor, etc..
2:02pm - Baltimore and Cleveland swap picks. Interesting you trade within your own division. The Ravens picked up Haloti Ngata.
Now Cleveland is on the clock. I'm not sure why the Ravens went up one spot and if the Browns were interested in Ngata, they wouldn't trade the pick. Yet, Baltimore, I guess, were convinced this was needed to get the guy.
Very suspect, on the Ravens end, about the trade and then pick. I'm curious to see what the Ravens gave up besides the swapping of first round picks.
1:58pm - The Reds are losing 2-0 and Elliot Sadler still has the pole at Talledega.
1:53pm - Dawgs by Nature believes the Browns should pick up Brodrick Bunkley.
1:47pm - The Denver Broncos traded with St. Louis and picked up Jay Cutler. That's a bit surprising. I wouldn't mind being a fly on the wall in Jake Plummer's house hearing this.
1:38pm - Sean Yuille, heading Pride of Detroit, is less than impressed with the Sims pick hoping to pick up Leinart.
1:35pm - Matt Leinart finally has a home. Arizona picked him. I was once a long-time resident of Minnesota and cheered a team head coached by Dennis Green. With Bolden and Fitzgerald at wide receiver, this Cardinals team has a nice core of young kids for the future. REPORT: Leinart happy
1:33pm - The Lions picked up Earnie Sims, OLB, Florida State. This is the first time the Lions haven't picked up an offensive player since 1999 -- Chris Claiborne.
1:27pm - The Bills picked up Donte Whitner. Damn. He was one I was hoping the Bengals picked up. That makes 2 Buckeyes in the top-ten. Go Buckeyes!
1:15pm - The Raiders picked up Michael Huff. Matt Leinart still sad.
The NFL should really consider reducing the time between picks from 15 to 5 minutes. There's really nothing going on other than analysis we've seen on SportsCenter from February. And honestly, it gets a little boring waiting for the 24th pick.
1:05pm - The 49ers picked up Vernon Davis. Nice pick for the 49ers who have limited weapons and many project Davis to be the next great tight end.
1:00pm - The Packers picked up A.J. Hawk. Having watched Ohio State for many years, and seen each of Hawk's games, I can tell Packers fans, enjoy this guy's game. It's awesome.
12:49pm - The Jets picked up D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Matt Leinart is sad. Jets fans are somewhat happy too. Since Green Bay (Rodgers), San Francisco (Smith) and Buffalo (Losman) is next, does that mean Leinart will drop to Arizona eventually?
Then again, Buffalo has to wonder if Losman is the answer and what about Oakland? Are they willing to pick up Leinart with all their holes they need to fill -- mostly with half of the Raiders having AARP memberships.
12:45pm - The Post's Kevin Goheen thinks the Bengals will pick up OSU's Donte Whitner.
12:35pm - The Titans picked up Vince Young. Does that mean Leinart to the Jets? Broadway Matt as everyone keeps reminding us?
12:30pm - Now the Titans are on the clock. Most speculate Vince Young is the natural pick to replace Steve McNair. Then again, you know former USC offensive coordinator, now current Titans O.C., puts Matt Leinart in the mix. Regardless, most people pretty much assume the Titans will pick up a quarterback.
12:28pm - The Saints selected Reggie Bush. There you have it. Jets fans look pretty ticked off; then again, it IS New York.
12:25pm - ESPN's Sal P. reports the Saints want MORE than the 3rd, 4th round picks and the 29th pick the Jets received from Denver for New York to pick up the number two pick.
12:21pm - Elliot Sadler took the pole at Talladega with a 50.79. Nice.
12:17pm - SHOCKER! Mario Williams picked first. We can pretty much assume the Saints picking up Bush. But what does that mean for the running back who signed a seven-year extension, in in the 2005 off-season.
12:10pm - Is it sad that Reggie Bush is forced to provide his reaction to why he wasn't picked first? I feel a little bad for the guy, but it seems like economics forced him to do this. His fault? Then Joe's main squeeze, Susie K. asks Bush what are the chances for a hold-out. Let's get it going ESPN. Shesh, we've already had the hype, we don't really need anymore. BTW, NASCAR cup qualifying beings over at FX.
11:57am - Richard Justice says the Texans picking up Williams "smacks of stupidity". Ouch. Think Houston is upset not picking up Bush? The game is won on the line, a monkey eating Cheesezits can tell you that. Then again, it is Reggie Bush.
11:50am - It's still early in the morning; the coffee is brewing and the headache leaving. Thank god for the marvels of modern science. If I were a gunslinger in the ol' west, I'd probably wouldn't last long. They didn't have Aleve back then.
The draft starts at noon, we know the first pick is Mario Williams, and as Mark Curnutte reports, the Bengals should make their first pick at, roughly, 4pm.
Chat about the draft here, it's open season. I will do some real-time blogging as the day goes on.
Happy draft day. Other SBnations running draft day coverage:
Blogging the Boys
Pride of Detroit
Windy City Gridiron
Dawgs by Nature
Not sure if Pats Pulpit, or Behind the Steel Curtain are doing draft coverage, but check 'em out anyway.