The Cincinnati Bengals have been linked to Kent State safety Brian Lainhart, according to NEPatriotsDraft. Earlier Monday night ESPN NFL Insider John Clayton reported that NFL teams were granted the right to sign undrafted free agents; a fact disputed by Fox Sports' Alex Marvez who said that teams can only talk with players, not sign them. NFL's Greg Aiello confirmed that note.
Teams can negotiate with rookies tonight but not sign them until tomorrow.
On to Lainhart.
Lainhart is what you could call a turnover machine, posting 17 career interceptions and nine forced fumbles. The safety averaged 95 tackles in his final three seasons at Kent State, giving him 349 tackles for his collegiate career.
Favorite team growing up? His hometown Cincinnati Bengals.
UPDATE: Joe Reedy confirmed the signing.
Positives: Solid Cover-2 deep safety with awareness and hands to make plays versus the pass if quarterbacks do not hold him with their eyes. Fair backpedal smoothness, good short-area quickness for a safety. Uses size and long arms to handle outside receiver effectively when corners brought on blitz. Breaks down well in space to prevent ballcarriers from escaping his wrap tackles. Regularly brought into the box versus the run. Has length and good upper-body strength to wrap up strong running backs around the line of scrimmage. Seals edge when near the line, takes on pulling guard to force run plays inside. Team captain in 2010.
Negatives: A shade slower than scouts like in a free safety. Lacks recovery speed to chase down elusive ballcarriers; receivers can run by him down the sideline if he hesitates on play action. Too often fails to recognize misdirection when in the box. Not a dominating hitter, hesitates instead of exploding into tackles.