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The Bengals Seventh Pick (7th Rd.): Nedu Ndukwe, S, Notre Dame

Pick Player Position School NOTES
1 Leon Hall CB Michigan The Bengals fulfill a need at cornerback drafting, perhaps, the second piece of a shutdown tandem of cornerbacks.
2 Kenny Irons RB Auburn The Bengals find a need to, possibly, replace the injury-prone, Chris Perry. Overthinking: Kenny Watson is let go and Irons is a good backup to Rudi while Chris Perry takes care of passing/third down duties.
3 Marvin White S TCU Has the appearance of being the guy to replace the departed Kevin Kaesviharn. Probably a good special teams guy with the project of replacing an aging Dexter Jackson in the future.
4 Jeff Rowe QB Nevada Addressing a need for a long-term backup quarterback to Carson Palmer.
5 Matt Toeaina DT Oregon The Bengals have one player with less than nine NFL seasons of experience. With Peko, a young defensive tackle was needed.
6 Dan Santucci OG Notre Dame Heading into the season, the Bengals have Bobbie Williams and Andrew Whitworth at guard. After that, only Nate Livings has significant guard experience in his lifetime. Scott Kooistra is a natural tackle acting guard when needed. With this pick, it would seem the team could move Andrews back out to tackle with the uncertainty of Adam Kieft and thus, completely addressing depth at offensive line.
7 Nedu Ndukwe S Notre Dame Ideal depth to the secondary and Special Teams.

This will continue our Bengals-centric draft analysis for the weekend. Once they are picked, we'll discuss 'em. Well have more in-depth discussions during the week.

The Bengals select, at #253, in the seventh round, Nedu Ndukwe, S, Notre Dame.


Height: 6-1
Weight: 206
40-time: 4.49

From ESPN:

Strengths: Times hits fairly well and can punish receivers over the middle. Keeps receivers in front of him when drops into zone coverage and is fast enough to cover the deep half of the field. Has the upper body strength to redirect receivers and can be physical in coverage. Fights for the ball while it's in the air and is tall enough to win jump balls. Lined up at receiver first two seasons at Notre Dame, shows adequate ball skills and flashes the ability to make plays in coverage. Is big enough to line up in the box, has lined up at linebacker and is versatile. Has experience covering kicks, blocked a kick during junior season and should contribute on special teams early.

Weaknesses: Isn't fast enough to run with a lot of receivers, doesn't explode out of cuts and needs to be protected in coverage. Takes too long to change directions and lacks the burst to match up with explosive slot receivers. Doesn't read routes well, is vulnerable to play action and lacks the second gear to recover when gets caught out of position. Takes too many false steps and is step slow getting to the ball at times. Lacks elite range and takes poor angles to the ball at times. Takes too long to shed blocks and appears to give up on plays

Overall: Ndukwe arrived at Notre Dame in 2003 as a wide receiver and appeared in all 12 games (seven on offense) as a true freshman and caught three passes for 14 yards. He switched to safety during spring practice in 2004 and then played in nine contests, mostly on special teams, that fall making seven total tackles, breaking up one pass, recovering one fumble and forcing another. In 2005, Ndukwe became a starter for all 12 games and registered 52 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, four fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, and one blocked kick. He once again started every contest (13) in 2006 posting 98 total tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions, six pass breakups, one fumble recovery, and two forced fumbles.

Ndukwe is a former receiver who is still adjusting to lining up at safety, so he isn't fundamentally sound. However, he is big, fast and athletic enough to develop into an effective reserve safety and special teams contributor. His upside should make him a late-round pick.