All indications show the Cincinnati Bengals want to upgrade their defensive line in this year's NFL Draft.
By our count, they've met with six defensive-line prospects at some point this offseason. The most recent of whom is Arizona State's Marcus Hardison, according to NFL.com's Gil Brandt:
ASU DL Marcus Hardison visiting #Bengals today. Getting A LOT of attention as draft nears. Had 10 sacks, 6 forced turnovers in 2014.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) April 20, 2015
At 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds, he has the size to be a three-technique or nose tackle in a 4-3, but he's actually is a former defensive end. Watching his tape, you see why with his speed and quickness while carrying his large frame.
Hardison led Arizona State with 10 sacks and 15 tackles for loss to go with 53 tackles this past season. He also forced six turnovers (three forced fumbles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery).
At his Pro Day, Hardison clocked in 4.8s in the 40-yard dash, and ran the short shuttle in 4.65 seconds and 3 cone drill in 7.29 seconds. All of those are very fast for any defensive lineman, let alone someone who will play on the interior in the NFL.
After a JUCO stint at Dodge City Community College, where he compiled 96 tackles and seven sacks in two seasons, Hardison made the move to big-time college football. He had limited production as a junior adjusting to D-1 football, but exploded this past season, and now he's quietly one of the top defensive tackles in this draft.
Hardison should hear his named called sometime on Day 2.