UPDATE 5:35 PM: The Bengals drafted their final two players of the draft (the first 7th round pick from compensation after Kevin Walter signed a deal to go to Houston).
The first: Ethan Kilmer
Kilmer ran his 40 one time at his Pro Day, clocking in at 4.45. He had a 40?-inch vertical jump, 10-foot-10 long jump, 4.12 short shuttle, 6.90 three-cone drill, and did 19 lifts. Kilmer transferred to Penn State from Shippensburg and played just two years for the Nittany Lions. He is really good on covering kicks and is a lot like David Tyree when he played at Syracuse. However, he is not that good at receiver.
The Second: Bennie Brazell
Brazell ran his 40s in 4.42 and 4.46 seconds at his Pro Day. He also ran the short shuttle in 4.21 and the three-cone drill in 6.80. He had a 35 1/2-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-11 broad jump.Bennie's 2005 college stats
Bennie's career stats
UPDATE 3:45 PM: Rain delay still. Damn.
The Bengals drafted Reggie McNeal, QB/Texas A & M.
Interesting to note the Bengals will have five quarterbacks at this point.
ESPN Insider says of McNeal:
Strengths: Possesses explosive athleticism and speed. Has great quickness in his drop and feet inside the pocket. Will feel the pocket collapsing around him and can get out of danger in a hurry. He has quick feet and exceptional speed. He is a huge threat to run. Buys a lot of second-chance passing opportunities. Is elusive and has very good vision and COD skills as a runner. Shows a second-gear in the open field. He is effective when throwing on the run. Seems to be at his best when creating after the initial play breaks down. He has outstanding arm strength. Can drive the ball downfield in the vertical passing game. He shows the ability to fit the ball into tight spots. Gets great zip on his deep out route. Shows the ability to throw across his body and on the run to both sides. His accuracy has improved greatly. He has cut down on his mental lapses and is doing a much better job of protecting the football. He won't force many throws into coverage. Has an exceptional TD to INT ratio. Is a tough, competitive QB and the type of player that demands respect from his teammates. A hard worker on and off the field.
Weaknesses: Possesses marginal size. Is on the shorter side and has poor bulk. He takes a lot of hits as a runner. Needs to learn to slide more often and to better protect his body. He has had some durability issues and he's an injury waiting to happen. He can be too impatient as a pocket passer. Takes off and runs too early at times. He doesn't always seem to see the entire field. Has had some trouble in the past protecting the football. Lacks ideal quickness in his release. His mechanics need to be more consistent as a passer. Doesn't show enough touch as a passer. Has some trouble in terms of leading his receivers and letting them run after the catch. He also struggles to change velocity at times. He has some trouble finding passing windows and will have some passes batted down. Still has room to improve in terms of reading coverages in his drops. Needs to make quicker reads and do a more consistent job of beating the blitz with his arm, rather than almost always with his legs.
Overall: McNeal played mostly a backup role as a freshman in 2002 before emerging as a fulltime starter as a sophomore. He started 11 of the 12 games he played in 2003, completing 113-of-221 passes for 1,782 yards with 8 touchdown and 7 interceptions. As a fulltime starter in his junior season in 2004, McNeal passed for 2,791 yards and 14 touchdowns on 200-of-344 passing, while rushing for 718 yards and eight touchdowns on 151 carries. As a senior in 2005, McNeal missed the final game (Texas) due to injury but he completed 53.2-percent of his attempts for 1,963 yards with 16 TDs and nine INTs in 10 games played. He also rushed for 664 yards on 96 carries. McNeal is one of the most explosive dual-threat quarterbacks in this class. He lacks ideal size and he still has a lot of work to do in terms of his mechanics, recognition skills and consistency as a pocket passer. He also takes a lot of hits and needs to protect his body better. However, McNeal's exceptional athletic ability combined with his strong arm makes him an intriguing developmental project at the quarterback position in the NFL. Also, if he doesn't work out at quarterback, he has the speed and agility to make an impact as a wide receiver and on special teams. That's why we think McNeal is worth the risk early on Day 2.
STRONG POINTS: McNeal is a rare athlete for a quarterback and has consistently shown the ability to create something out of nothing because of it. He can avoid sacks, buys second chances and can make big plays running with the ball. He has shown the ability to get rid of the ball quickly and with zip, although his throwing motion is not ideal. He has the arm strength to make the 50+-yard throw deep down the field. For a raw quarterback, he has shown a surprising ability to come back and find his second and/or third receivers when his primary receiver is covered.UPDATE 2:50 PM: Ok, as per typical, the race is under a rain delay. That seems to happen a lot; get excited about something then suddenly let down. For example, while in high school, there would be reports of a major snow storm coming and the potential getting off school was high. Then it comes; a dusting at best. Not only was school in session, but there was no one or two hour delays -- vital sleep-in time.
WEAKNESSES: McNeal is a very raw quarterback whose release is side-arm/three-quarter-arm, and it hinders his accuracy and he gets too many passes tipped at the line of scrimmage. Despite having the arm strength to make all the throws, his accuracy is bad -- he struggles to consistently make throws on target (his passes really tend to dip in front of the receiver). He has played out of the shotgun nearly all the time at Texas A&M and will need to adjust to playing under center and in a more traditional NFL offense. He has shown a tendency to force passes when under pressure because he does not consistently read and identify the defense correctly at the snap.
Also of note, please comment on the draft if you have something to say. This website, along with the SBNation community is a, well, community-based network. We encourage you to speak out if you feel the need to -- the only rule we employ is civility and being nice to me ;-).
Anyway, the Bengals picked up their fifth player in Florida State Linebacker, A. J. Nicholson.
NFL.com analyzes Nicholson:
SUMMARY: Nicholson was a tough player to fairly grade, because he was an extremely productive college middle linebacker, but is a limited athlete who struggles to play outside of his small area. He is a smart and instinctive player, which helps him to consistently get started towards the ball quickly and to play to the limits of his ability. He has shown the strength to take on offensive line blocks strong at the point of attack, can shed, get free and make the tackle. Overall, the big concern is that Nicholson will be over-drafted based on his production, and the fact that he is a limited athlete and lacks good playing speed will be overlooked. I believe he will be a solid, competitive starting middle linebacker, who makes plays between the offensive tackles, but struggles to make plays outside the hash-marks. He will be good vs. the inside run and in zone coverage, but will struggle to chase down ball carriers in backside pursuit and in man-to-man coverage. Even though he does not have the ideal playing speed, his smarts, instincts and toughness will enable him to be a solid special teams player in the NFL.
STRONG POINTS: Nicholson is a smart and instinctive linebacker, who is consistently around the ball and makes a lot of tackles on inside runs. When he is aggressive with his play and uses his hands, he jolts blockers, stays free and makes plays on runs directed at him. He avoids blocks well while on the move and can chase down ball carriers from behind between the hash-marks. He drops off the ball into zone coverage very smoothly, reads the quarterback, and has the hands to break up passes and make tough interceptions. He does a very good job of timing his blitzes, gets in the backfield, and makes hits on the quarterback.
WEAKNESSES: Nicholson is a limited athlete, who lacks the playing speed and athleticism to make plays outside of a small area -- he will not be able to catch NFL ball carriers in pursuit. His lack of agility and tendency to get upright when moving through traffic really limits his ability to move through traffic smoothly -- he gets bumped around and slowed up a lot. He does not have the athletic ability to stay with tight ends and running backs in man-to-man coverage, and he lacks the explosive closing burst to finish plays consistently. He over-runs some tackles he could make if he stayed under control.
Click for more analysis.
ESPN Insider says:
Strengths: Is a natural ball-hawk and playmaker at the WLB position. What he lacks in top-end speed he has been able to make up for with instincts, fluidity and quickness. He is quicker than fast. Shows smooth hips and is an impressive athlete for his size. He has good bulk and is well-built for a shorter OLB prospect. Is an instinctive player with a nose for the ball. Is aggressive and plays with an outstanding motor. Does a good job of using his hands to get through traffic and he takes very good angles in pursuit. Shows closing burst both as a run chaser and pass rusher. He is a fine open field tackler. Breaks down in space and wraps up. Shows good initial pop and power at the POA. Will force fumbles and will come up with more than his share of fumble recoveries. He has great ball skills and anticipation skills in coverage. Lacks ideal speed but is fluid and instinctive in coverage. Shows good burst and timing as a blitzer. Has been very productive when turned loose as an edge rusher.
Weaknesses: Character is a massive concern. He was charged with two separate alcohol-related offenses within a one-year span leading up to his senior season in 2005, including for resisting arrest after police tried to kick him out of a Tallahassee night club for "disorderly conduct and drinking violations." Also was suspended by the team for the 2005-'06 Orange Bowl and questioned by police after a 19-year-old woman accused him of sexually assaulting her. Durability is an issue after a torn right MCL in May of 2003 required surgery. As a player, he is on the shorter side and will get engulfed at the POA by bigger blockers. Also lacks ideal top-end speed for the WLB position. Gets away with it at the collegiate level but won't be as effective pursuing the run and will have more matchup limitations in both man and zone coverage.
Overall: Nicholson played sparingly in all 13 games as a true freshman in 2002. He started three games as a sophomore in 2003 before taking over as the fulltime starting WLB as a junior in 2004, when he led the team with 88 total tackles and also finished with 11.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and one interception. Nicholson started all 12 regular season games as a senior in 2005, when he led FSU with 100 tackles and also finished with 10 TFL, two interceptions and one sack. Nicholson did not play in the 2005-'06 Orange Bowl vs. Penn State because of the aforementioned suspension. Prior to his suspension, Nicholson was having his best season as a senior in 2005 and had improved his draft stock tremendously. He is a versatile playmaker with outstanding quickness, aggressiveness and tackling skills in run support, as well as instincts, fluidity and ball skills in coverage. However, Nicholson has major character issues that will undoubtedly cause him to slip on draft day. It also won't help Nicholson's cause that he lacks ideal height and top-end speed as a projected WLB in the NFL. In short, Nicholson had emerged as a possible second round pick midway through the 2005 season but his off-the-field baggage and poor test results from the combine could land him on Day 2.
FOR A COACH THAT SAYS LAST WEEK THAT CHARACTER WILL BE GRADED TOUGHER THIS YEAR, HE'S SURE PICKING UP A FEW RED FLAGS in Nicholson and PEKO.
UPDATE 2:00PM: First off, the NASCAR race is coming up and I'll be glued to the tele, with my Porterhouse Steak and Baked Potato; I will update the Bengals draft picks when I get a moment. Real quick though, I wanted to go around the SBNation get an idea of what my football bloggin' friends thought of their picks.
Windy City Gridiron, while satisfied with the picks themselves, thinks the team could have done better addressing bigger needs. Their first trade, to me, I don't get. Did they get rid of their first to Buffalo for a second and third pick? I think picking up more picks during the draft is golden anytime you do it, provided you're picking up players that will help you in the long run. But like WCG, I'm not sure they are. Jay Mariotti is cursing somewhere, I'm sure of it.
Chris Pokorny of Dawgs by Nature has a slight grin putting one over on the Ravens (ata boy) trading back one spot for an additional sixth round pick. Pokorny believes Kamerion Wimbley is of the Willie Mcginest mold. However, it looks like the second pick is what has the dawg pound fired up. Check out Dawgs by Nature to see why. Also check out the reaction of Browns fans picking up a receiver rather than a guard or defensive tackle.
Big Blue Shoe is really happy with Joseph Addai, a running back expected to replace Edgerrin James. BBS seems really happy with the Colts second pick, Tim Jennings, saying he's "perfect for the cover two". BBS also does a nice break down, with grades, of the first day among the SBNation group.
Grizz isn't as happy with the Cowboys first day giving a "C-" grade. He loves the Carpenter pick, but, as Grizz says, it gets a little "weird". Click here to see why. (side note to self: I've never understood if "I" is before "E" except after "C", then why do we spell weird differently? I bring this up because I still use that nursery rhyme and tend to spell things wrong. I guess I'm just an idiot)
Seems tommasse is somewhat surprised with New England going all offense the first day. A running back, wide receiver (see the I before E except after C applies here), and a tight end round up their first day. From my perspective it seemed like New England's biggest problems, at least in the playoffs, was lack of weapons on offense and lack of stability in the defensive secondary. Check out Pats Pulprit for updates and analysis on the Patriots picks.
Also make sure you get your Lions updates at Pride of Detroit. While happy with the pick, Sean Yuille was really hoping for Matt Leinart.
1:23pmFor the fourth round the Bengals picked up Domata Peko, DT/Michigan State.
FoxSports says Peko brings "character concerns".
Has potential as a two-gap run defender, but needs polish and has some character concerns.
NFL.com says of Peko:
Peko has the talent to become a good starter in the NFL, but his inconsistent play kept him from being a consistently good college player. He has the natural size, but needs to get in better shape and play with good leverage/base in order to play up to his natural size/strength consistently in the NFL. He has the quick feet, agility and playing speed to avoid blocks and chase plays down in pursuit -- he has a good slap and arm-over move to defeat blocks. He has not stayed in shape or played up to his ability consistently at Michigan State and usually those traits follow a player into the NFL. Teams will need to be very careful not to over-draft him because of his natural athleticism, but could definitely draft him late because 300-pound defensive tackles with his athleticism and on-field competitiveness are hard to find. In the end, Peko will most likely end up being the same inconsistent player in the NFL that he was in college, but if the light ever goes on and he plays aggressively and with good hand use and technique, he has the tools to become a solid, disruptive starting defensive tackle in the NFL.
Peko is a good athlete with the quick feet to defeat one-on-one pass blocks and get pressure on the quarterback. When he bends his knees and plays with a wide base, he has the strength to drive offensive linemen backwards with a bull rush and he can stack the point of attack vs. run blocks, toss blockers off him and make the tackle. He consistently gets moving quickly at the snap and sniffs out the play fast. He has the playing speed to chase down ball carriers along the line of scrimmage in pursuit and does a very good job of getting underneath "Reach" blocks, keeping the blocker on his back and chasing down plays.
Peko is not a consistently aggressive player and it greatly hinders his overall production. He has a tendency to pop upright, play high at the snap and he does not use hands aggressively which allows blockers to lock-up on him and eliminate him from the play. When he plays high, he can't hold his ground vs. run blocks. Despite good athletic ability, he lacks an explosive closing burst to consistently finish plays he gets close to. It is a concern that his physique is so soft and fleshy because it makes you wonder about his willingness to work hard off the field in the weight room to be the best he can be.
Click the link for a lot more analysis from NFL.com.
ESPN Insider says of Peko:
Strengths: A big, strong two-gap DT/NT prospect. Possesses good height and bulk. Is naturally strong. Thickly built with powerful legs. He is tough to move in the running game. Shows adequate initial quickness to establish positioning. When he plays with leverage he can do a great job of occupying blockers. He plays hard in spurts and can be very effective. He shows the strength to drive through blocks. Shows very good tackling skills in space for his size. Continues to improve with more experience and his best football could be ahead of him.
Weaknesses: Not a great athlete. Decent initial quickness but lacks speed and COD skills. Takes too long to redirect. Does not make many plays outside of the tackle box. His body is not well defined at all and he has some weight fluctuation issues. Wears down quickly and can look sluggish at times. Technique needs refining. Does not have great playing experience at a high level. Lacks an effective array of pass rush moves and is basically a one-dimensional power rusher. Also has some character concerns after arrest in May of 2005.
Overall: Brother of Tupe Peko, who played OT for Michigan State and in the NFL for the Panthers. Domata Peko was a JUCO All-American at College of the Canyons before transferring to Michigan State in 2004. He played as a reserve in all 12 games as a junior in 2004, finishing with 14 tackles and two sacks. Peko pled guilty on June, 23 2005 to a charge of misdemeanor disorderly conduct, stemming from a May, 21 2005 incident. Peko started all 11 games as a senior in 2005 and finished with 53 tackles, three TFL and one sack. Peko is a late-bloomer with only one full season of starting experience at the DI-A level. He has an impressive combination of size and strength, which gives him upside as a possible two-gap DT contributor in the NFL. However, he is not a great athlete and he will never be more than a two-down run-stopping type in the NFL. Peko shows enough promise to warrant early Day 2 consideration but some character concerns could result in him slipping to the final few rounds of the 2006 draft.
Also, Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com talks about the first day saying the Bengals "stockpile for rainy day".
Cincinnati Enquirer beat writer, Mark Curnutte concurs:
A big difference between these Bengals and the pre-Marvin Lewis Bengals - besides overall draft position - is that this team doesn't need to draft starters as rookies.
With their first two picks Saturday in the NFL draft, the Bengals chose players who could be starters as early as 2007.
Chick Ludwig says the Joseph pick was an "easy call".
The coaching staff is pretty high on Whitworth.
"He's all man," Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander said about Whitworth. "He's very mature, very focused, reliable, a great leader, tougher than heck ? everything you want in a player."
Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski said Whitworth "had the most impressive interview of any kid I've seen in 15 years in terms of his knowledge and understanding of his position. He's a big, physical player. Loves the game. Knows it inside and out. Knows how to study opponents. He's way ahead of what a lot of offensive linemen coming into this league are in terms of the understanding of how to play the position."