With NFL free agency in full swing, one of the biggest Pro Days of this offseason took place on Wednesday.
It came at defending national champion Alabama, who had a host of NFL prospects on display. Center Ryan Kelly, defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed, linebacker Reggie Ragland and cornerback Cyrus Jones were among the Crimson Tide players who took part in the showcase.
Alabama confirmed that every NFL team had at least one representative at the Pro Day.
Representing the Bengals was defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, according to the NFL Network broadcast. That makes perfect sense given almost all of the Crimson Tide defensive prospects will be in consideration by Cincinnati in the draft.
Robinson and Reed are regarded as two of the best interior defensive lineman in this draft class, not to mention first-round prospect who may be on the board when the 24th pick rolls around. Both played defensive tackle in Bama's hybrid 3-4/4-3 scheme and helped the Tide roll to the national title.
Depending on what mock draft you've read, both guys are going in the first round in no consistent order. Three of the four NFL.com mocks have Reed going first while the other has Robinson first. Three of the four mocks also have Reed going before the Bengals' 24th pick, but one has Reed not even going in the first round. All four have Robinson going in Round 1, though only two have him going before the Bengals are on the clock.
As for which would fit the Bengals better, that depends what the team wants from the player who will eventually replace Domata Peko. Reed is more like Peko and has been compared to Raiders DT Dan Williams as a run-stuffer who doesn't offer much as a pass-rusher. Robinson is more athletic and plays more like Michael Brockers or John Henderson in that he'll more consistently pressure the quarterback. Robinson is probably the better pick just because he could better play both defensive tackle spots, whereas Reed would be more relegated to Peko's spot.
Either way, both guys get far more penetration into the backfield than Peko does and would be an upgrade over him.
Jarran Reed wins with the swim on two very different snaps. https://t.co/hlQBN2lxwd— Terry Lambert (@TLambertFB) February 4, 2016
Jarran Reed showing good balance, forces QB out of the pocket https://t.co/BPmoeK9Vp6— IDthe22 (@idthe22) January 30, 2016
A'Shawn Robinson and Reggie Ragland with a big hit! https://t.co/7FfL6FvpJ2— Jaison Davis (@JaiHawkFly) October 11, 2015
Plays like this are why A'Shawn Robinson is mentioned as a possible top-10 pick. Impressive flashes. https://t.co/ROIFGekDEa— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) September 1, 2015
Both prospects look like viable candidates for Cincinnati's first pick if they decide to add another defensive tackle. There's also a chance they opt for Kelly to upgrade the center position. You could argue that's the weakest position on the roster, and almost every draft expert views Kelly as a late first-round talent.
I don't think Ragland is someone the Bengals will consider with the 24th pick. He's more of an inside backer, an area Cincinnati doesn't need to address in Round 1. If they think he can play outside backer, that's a different story after Emmanuel Lamur left in free agency.
Jones is someone to watch out for in the latter rounds with the Bengals likely needing to boost their cornerback depth. Adam Jones was re-signed, but Leon Hall is still a free agent and Darqueze Dennard is coming off a major shoulder injury. I'd venture to guess the Bengals spend a Day 3 pick on a corner this year, just as they did last year with Josh Shaw.