The Bengals need to bolster their offensive-line depth, and they tend to take at least one pick in the latter rounds to develop into a future contributor.
That could be where Hobart offensive lineman Ali Marpet comes in. According to ESPN's Adam Caplan, the Bengals are one of several teams who have worked out Marpet this offseason:
G/RT Ali Marpet visited the #Chargers earlier this week. Chargers TEs coach Pete Metzelaars, like Marpet, was a D-III player (Wabash).— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) April 23, 2015
Marpet played Division III Football for the Hobart Statesmen, a small private college in Geneva, New York. He's been one of the highest risers this offseason thanks to good performances at all-star games and the NFL Scouting Combine.
At the combine, Marpet was the only offensive lineman to break the 5-second barrier in the 40-yard dash, running it in 4.98 seconds. He also posted the second-best times in the 3-cone drill (7.33 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (4.47 seconds) before bench-pressing 225 pounds 30 times, the fifth-most among offensive linemen.
The good news is he isn't just a workout warrior; Marpet had a great showing at the Senior Bowl in January. He also didn't allow a sack this past season, which is impressive at any level of football.
If the Bengals were to draft Marpet, he likely wouldn't play at all as a rookie unless there are multiple injuries along the offensive line. Marpet would likely battle Trey Hopkins for the first guard off the bench position, but could develop into a tackle capable of replacing Andre Smith or Andrew Whitworth if either leaves next year.
Here's Marpet's NFL.com scouting report:
STRENGTHS: Good foot quickness with ability to reach and hook opponents. Quick out of stance and into defender. Usually the low man, using hips and arm extension to lock out and control his man. Has leg drive to drive his man backward and finish. Consistent with hand placement in run and pass. Plays with advanced technique for a Division III player. More than held his own at the Senior Bowl against both quickness and strength. Moved from tackle to guard with no issues during the week of practice. Outstanding NFL Scouting Combine with impressive showing on bench press (30 reps).
WEAKNESSES: Played against inferior athletic competition and wasn't challenged enough. Gets caught leaning and lunging. Lets inferior athletes get to his edge. Average with redirect. Has short legs. Needs to add more thickness through entire body.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Round 2 or 3
BOTTOM LINE: Has the body type and movement of a zone-scheme center with guard potential. Technically sound and has athleticism to become an NFL starter, but must prove he can handle the substantial jump in power and speed he will see. Looked strong enough at the Senior Bowl, but he could be a year away from being ready. Ascending prospect with a chance to be one of the steals from this year's group of interior blockers.