Through May 2, the Bengals have signed 14 total undrafted free agents -- 12 to 2-year contracts with Jesse Holley and Dane Uperesa signed to three-year deals. Let's examine each using ESPN's Draft Tracker (if ESPN has their profile)
Daniel Coats, TE, 6-3, 257, Brigham Young; Layton, Utah [ESPN Draft Tracker]
Weaknesses: Lacks ideal height and possesses just adequate bulk. Gives a great effort as a blocker but he does not possess the size to consistently match up in-line at the NFL level. Good weight-room strength but it does not translate to the field. He lacks power as a blocker. He lacks ideal top-end speed and does not show the quick-twitch athleticism expected from a former wide receiver. He is not going to be a vertical threat as an H-Back in the NFL.
Overall: Coats was redshirted in 2002. He was converted from wide receiver to tight end prior to the 2003 season and then earned Freshman All-American honors by playing in 10 of BYU's 12 games, catching 30 passes for 378 yards (12.6 average), and scoring four touchdowns. Coats started all 11 games at tight end in 2004 but only managed 13 receptions for 160 yards on the season. In 2005, he appeared in all 12 games and made four starts, finishing the season with 21 catches for 189 yards (9 average) and three touchdowns. Coats played in all 13 games in 2006 catching 22 passes for 239 yards (10.9 average) and two touchdowns.
Coats is a former wide receiver turned tight end. He is built in a similar mold to teammate Johnny Harline, but Coats is a bit shorter, stockier and less athletic than Harline. Coats has some upside as a reserve H-Back in the NFL but it's fairly clear to us that Harline is the better NFL prospect. Coats is unlikely to be selected in the 2007 draft.
Earl Everett, LB, 6-3, 238, Florida; Webster, Fla. [ESPN]
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.
Xavier Jackson, DE, 6-3, 278, Missouri; Vacaville, Calif. [ESPN Draft Tracker] (labeled with character)
Weaknesses: Frequently plays too high, hasn't shown great lower body strength and can get driven off the ball. Lacks ideal range and isn't a sideline-to-sideline defender. Appears stiff in space and doesn't have ideal athletic ability. Takes too long to change directions, hasn't shown a lot of double moves and rarely forces offensive lineman to redirect. Doesn't have elite explosiveness and isn't fast enough to turn the corner. Missed 2006 season opener for undisclosed disciplinary reasons and character is somewhat of a concern.
Overall: Jackson sustained a stress fracture prior to the 2003 season and was initially redshirted until having the redshirt pulled during the fifth game of the year against Kansas. He then finished his true freshman season seeing action in nine games with four starts and recorded 34 total tackles, four tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. In 2004, Jackson became a fulltime starter for all 11 contests and amassed 50 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble, and one interception. He started the first five games in 2005 but then lost his starting job and played of the bench in Missouri's final seven contests registering 44 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss, six sacks, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. In 2006, Jackson regained his starting spot for the 12 games he played in after serving a one-game suspension (undisclosed disciplinary reasons) for the season opener against Murray State (9/2). He returned to earn honorable mention All-Big 12 recognition and posted 64 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, and one interception which he returned 17 yards for a touchdown.
Jackson is big enough to develop into an effective run stopper if he improves his technique. He is also a relentless pass rusher. But he does not dominate any one area and he has much room to grow as an overall football player. Jackson lacks the power to control the point of attack and the burst to consistently get to the quarterback coming off the edge. Jackson projects as a mid-to-late round pick only because of his developmental upside.
Matt Muncy, LB, 6-1, 238, Ohio; Miamisburg, Ohio [NFL.com Draft Tracker]
Muncy ranks second on Ohio's all-time list with 203 solo tackles, ranks fourth in school history with 39.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and finished seventh with 11.5 sacks. He also ranks No. 11 in Bobcats annals with 333 total tackles.
Muncy lettered four times in football at Miamisburg High School. He was an honorable mention All-Ohio selection in Division I and named first-team All-Southwest Ohio as a senior, and second-team as a sophomore and junior. He earned the conference Offensive Most Valuable Player Award his last two years. The Vikings were the conference champions his last two seasons, advancing to the state playoffs in 2000.
Muncy rushed for 1,550 yards as a senior and racked up 4,323 rushing yards with 61 total touchdowns for his career. He made 62 tackles and had two interceptions from his strong safety position as a senior. He also earned four letters in basketball and two in baseball. He is the school's fifth all-time leading basketball scorer with 986 points. He was also a member of the Honor Roll and a Renaissance Scholar.
After redshirting at Ohio University in 2002, Muncy played in 12 games the following season, starting the final two 2003 games at weakside inside linebacker. He went on to post 53 tackles (32 solos), and 1.5 sacks. In 2004, he started all 11 games at weakside linebacker, leading the team with 78 tackles (51 solos). He had five sacks with 11 stops for losses. He caused two fumbles and recovered two others, returning one for a touchdown. He also intercepted two passes and broke up two others.
As a junior, Muncy earned All-Mid American Conference first-team honors. College Football News called him the league's best linebacker, as he shifted to the middle slot in the team's new 3-4 alignment. He again led the team with a career-high 115 tackles (77 solos), as he added 2.5 sacks and nine stops behind the line of scrimmage. He caused a fumble and recovered two others while batting down six passes and intercepting another.
In 2006, Muncy was again selected to the All-MAC first-team. He finished second on the team with 87 tackles (43 solos) in 14 games from middle linebacker. He posted 2.5 sacks and registered 17 stops behind the line of scrimmage, the third-best season total in school annals. He caused and recovered a fumble, intercepted two passes and batted down three others.
In 48 games at Ohio University, Muncy started 38 times. He recorded 333 tackles, including 203 solos, the second-best career total in school annals. He had 11.5 sacks for minus-78 yards and 39.5 stops for losses of 134 yards. He added five quarterback pressures, and deflected 11 passes. He caused five fumbles and recovered five others, returning one 98 yards for a touchdown. He also intercepted five passes for 76 yards in returns.
Positives: Has a compactly-built frame that can use additional bulk, but he is a tough and competitive player who is more of a downhill type, but he has enough change-of-direction agility to make plays on the perimeter … Aggressive wrap-up tackler with adequate ball recognition skills, but needs to stay square and not over-pursue … Fluid working in space and shows incredible aggression in the box … Quick to react to the play and shows an instant burst coming out of his backpedal in pass coverage … Has good closing speed, showing classic tackling form as he fires low and extends his arms properly to secure the ball carrier … When he keeps his hands inside, he can generate a strong punch … When he sees the play develop, he is quick to close … Takes proper angles in pursuit and has the burst to shoot the gaps … When he stays square, he is very effective at clogging the rush lanes … Efficient blitzer who knows how to use his hands to avoid blocks at his feet … Has a good understanding of offensive schemes and is rarely fooled by misdirection … Lacks ideal size to take on offensive linemen, but will hit them with a thud and has the quickness to slide and slip inside … Good at re-routing tight ends and backs with his hands … Can avoid and run cleanly to squeeze the outside running game back inside … Even though he is tight in his hips, he is able to flatten and chase in run force … Also plays on the punt coverage unit.
Negatives: Sometimes gets caught up in the inside trash because of a lack of ideal bulk … Needs to show better knee bend when trying to contain the inside run, as he gets too tall in his stance and blockers will then wash him out of the play … Has to be more consistent in keeping his hands inside (when he gets wide with them, he fails to control the tight ends and slot receivers) … Struggles to open his hips, looking choppy in attempts to get in and out of his breaks, making him a liability in man coverage … When he gets high in his backpedal, he will gather and take false steps in transition and out of his breaks … Lacks natural hands for the interception, as his upper body lacks flexibility, making him fight to secure the ball, despite having five pass thefts … His short arms cause him to struggle vs. reach blocks.
Compares To: Al Wilson, ex-Denver -- Muncy has the speed and downhill ability that Wilson possesses … He needs to keep his pad level down working along the line and must refine his backpedal technique, as he wasted too many steps in transition, making him a bit of a liability in man coverage … He has excellent upper-body strength, but it is sometimes negated when he gets his hands too wide … Still, you can see the urgency in his play and his instinctive feel for the ball … He might become the biggest surprise in training camp this summer.
Jeff Smith, QB, 6-5, 235, Georgetown (Ky.) College; Fort Thomas, Ky. [NFL.com Draft Tracker]
One of the best-kept secrets in the 2007 NFL Draft, Smith has an imposing frame, a rifle for an arm and very good mobility to escape pocket pressure. His final collegiate season turned into a family affair with his younger brothers, Kevin (wingback) and Justin (defensive tackle), also competing for the Tigers.
Smith was an option quarterback at Newport Central Catholic High School. He earned all-area and all-conference honors as a senior, starting in each of his last three years.
Upon graduation, he enrolled at Georgetown College, redshirting in 2002. Smith saw minimal action in six games in 2003, playing behind starter Neil Warren. In 2004, he earned NAIA All-America second-team, All-Mid South Conference first-team and league Offensive Player of the Year honors.
That year, he connected on 249 of 429 passes (58.0 percent) for 3,178 yards, 31 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. He scored six times rushing and ranked eighth in NAIA Division I with an average of 245.1 yards per game in total offense.
As a junior, Smith was named All-Mid South Conference honorable mention. He threw for 2,865 yards with 27 touchdowns and 15 interceptions on 205 of 386 attempts (53.1 percent). He ran for a pair of scores and averaged 242.7 yards per game in total offense, the tenth-best figure in the NAIA.
Smith returned to All-Mid South Conference first-team status in 2006. He hit on 186 of 323 passes (57.6 percent) for 2,367 yards and 21 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. He ran for four scores and amassed 2,396 yards in total offense, ranking 12th in the country in that category.
In his last 36 games as a starter, Smith completed 640 of 1,138 passes (56.2 percent) for 8,410 yards, 79 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. He rushed 151 times for 84 yards (0.6 avg.) and 12 scores. He participated in 1,289 plays, gaining 8,494 yards in total offense, an average of 235.94 yards per game. He also recorded a pair of solo tackles.
Positives: Well-built athlete with a frame that looks like a linebacker's -- tall, with thick muscles, well-proportioned build, long arms, thick chest, broad shoulders, tight waist and good bubble … Lacks quick twitch moves in his pass set, but compensates with a quick release … Has very good timed speed, but needs to utilize it more to escape pocket pressure … Hard worker and unquestioned team leader who has shown flashes of dominating at this level of play … Stands tall in the pocket, but while he does not have the second gear, he shows good leg strength to break tackles when running with the ball … Smooth and efficient in his over-the-ear release, and can fire the ball out quickly once he sets his feet … Accurate short-range passer with the functional mobility to escape and be a threat on the run … Has a compact and efficient throwing motion and delivery … His passes come out quickly and on time, putting good zip behind his short throws … Showed improvement in scanning the field as a senior, going to his secondary targets, especially his backs, more in 2006 than he did in the past … Does a nice job of laying the ball over the top and knows how to put it in places receivers can gain additional yardage after the catch … Makes quick decisions with the ball and has greatly improved his check-down skills … Will stand in there under a heavy rush, but needs to have a better feel for leaving the pocket … When he now gets his targets in sight, he can come off the primary to hit his secondary man for big gains … Shuffles, slides and side-steps to avoid the rush without losing focus … Makes proper sight adjustments and will bring the ball down to run when his targets are covered … Squares his shoulders nicely on rushing attempts, showing good forward lean to pick up extra yardage, but must do a better job of sliding.
Negatives: Drops the ball a little in his release when working from the shotgun, causing him to push the ball a bit … Does not show the arm strength on deep and out routes, as his passes tend to sail, mostly due to not setting his feet better … Inconsistent in his accuracy tossing the long ball upfield, especially when rolling out, as he looks too tight in his hips and mechanical throwing on the move … Needs to be quicker dropping back from center to his throwing point (slow and methodical) … Gets locked-on to his primary targets, but is conscious of this and worked hard to locate his secondary receivers and not hold on to the ball too long in 2006 … Leader by example, but needs to get more vocal in the huddle … Gets into trouble because of his desire to make every play, and needs to throw the ball away when his targets are covered (eight fumbles, twelve interceptions in 2006).
Compares To: Dan Orlovsky, Detroit -- One of Mike Martz's favorite traits in a quarterback is size, and much like Orlovsky, Smith is an imposing figure behind center … He has excellent athletic skills, but coming from a small school he will need pass set-up refinement … He is slow driving back from center and looks mechanical throwing on the move … He has good arm strength, but tends to hold on to the ball too long, waiting for his primary targets to get free … He will force the ball into a crowd at times, but generally makes good decisions … Give this kid several years on the bench to acclimate to NFL life and you could get another Kurt Warner/Marc Bulger type of late bloomer.
Dane Uperesa, OT, 6-4, 309, Hawaii; Hauula (Oahu), Hawaii [ESPN Draft Tracker]
Weaknesses: Played in a pass-heavy scheme and doesn't have a lot of experience driving defenders off the ball. Plays too high, has shown great lower body strength and isn't going to get much movement in short-yardage situations. Lacks a mean streak, doesn't roll hips into blocks and isn't going to knock defenders back at the point of attack. Doesn't show great body control in space and has problems adjusting to the moving target in space. Lacks ideal range and doesn't do a great job of leading the way on screens. Lunges when throwing cut blocks and spends too much time on the ground. Doesn't get great knee bend in pass set and struggles to anchor against powerful bull rushers.
Overall: Uperesa was redshirted during the 2002 season. In 2003 he saw action in all 14 games including one start at right tackle against Appalachian State. Uperesa appeared in nine games in 2004 at right tackle. He played in all 13 games in 2005, with 12 starts, playing through a sprained ankle and a shoulder injury (did not start vs. Fresno State because of ankle). Uperesa started all 14 games in 2006 at right tackle and earned a spot on the All-WAC second team.
Uperesa is a gifted athlete for a man with his size and his run blocking should improve as he gains more experience. However, he needs to get stronger and more physical before pushing for any playing time. Uperesa projects as a late-round pick.
Stan White, FB, 6-1, 249, Ohio State; Baltimore, Md. [NFL.com Draft Tracker]
White's ability as a lead blocker and special teams performer will get him a look at the NFL level. With the traditional fullback role nearing extinction, however, White will struggle to find a niche.
He did not have a single carry the past two seasons with the Buckeyes, so he is traditional fullback type in every sense of the word. However, coach Jim Tressel said last season that White's versatility as an adequate receiver was key because it prevented defenses from knowing exactly what the Buckeyes would run when he was in the game.
Tressel also considered White an excellent role model for the team's younger players.
Positives: All-American bloodlines (father is former Ohio State linebacker Stan White, who played for the Baltimore Colts) … Graduated early and enrolled in graduate school … Good runner and receiver who came to Ohio State as a linebacker, moved to tight end and then settled at fullback … Cerebral lead blocker … Knows his assignments and those of all others on the offense … Rare size for the position … Physical at the point of attack … Rarely used as a receiver, but shows soft hands and understands route-running … Good overall athleticism for the position … Standout special teams performer.
Negatives: One-dimensional fullback used almost entirely as a human battering ram … Caught a career-high eight passes in 2006 for a total of 57 yards … Started each of the past two seasons for the Buckeyes at fullback, yet leaves with zero rushing attempts.
Players without profiles from ESPN or NFL.com.
Bryan Andrews, DE, 6-5, 262, Wake Forest; Lima, Ohio
Jesse Holley, WR, 6-2, 219, North Carolina; Roselle, N.J.
Tony Kays, WR, 6-0, 194, California-Davis; Elk Grove, Calif.
Harrison Nikolao, G, 6-3, 305, Eastern Washington; Tacoma, Wash.
Elliot Seifert, OT, 6-7, 308, Temple; Reading, Pa.
Cameron Siskowic, LB, 6-1, 228, Illinois State; San Diego, Calif.
T.J. Wright, CB, 5-10, 177, Ohio; Beaumont, Texas