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Bengals attend Texas Pro Day

Hassan Ridgeway is quietly gaining momentum as a possible late first or second-round pick.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals continue to pop up at Pro Days across the nation, that latest being in the Lone Star State for the Texas Longhorns.

However, the once-proud and NFL-rich Horns aren't producing pro talent like we're used to. In fact, only one Texas player is ranked in CBS Sports' top 450 prospects. That's Hassan Ridgeway, who is rated CBS' 114th-best prospect and 14th-best defensive tackle.

Ridgeway, a junior who declared for the draft this offseason, had 36 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss in 11 games in 2015. His best game came vs Oklahoma State, when the junior recorded one sack, 1.5 tackles for loss and returned a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown. He gets good pressure from the inside and does good enough vs the run that he should develop into a solid NFL player.

The 6'3", 303-pound tackle is slowly climbing up draft boards as people are studying his tape more. Many times when underclassman declare, they've not had their tape looked at as much as seniors and high-ranking juniors have, leading to early low rankings like Ridgeway got at CBS.'s Lance Zierlein actually has Ridgeway ranked as his 29th-overall prospect and says he may be better than former Longhorn tackle Malcom Brown, who was a first-round pick of the Patriots' last year.

SOURCES TELL US: "He's more talented than Malcolm Brown was coming out but his conditioning and injuries worry you. With time and money will his weight balloon? Will he be motivated to work in the offseason? He would have benefited by going back to school." -- NFL general manager


Considering how good Kawann Short has been for the Panthers in helping them become one of the NFL's best defenses, the thought of Ridgeway doing the same for the Bengals is exciting to think about. There's no question this defense is good, but perhaps a guy like Ridgeway is the key to making it elite.

As far as other Longhorn prospects go, there may not be another player drafted this year. Defensive end Shiro Davis has just 5.5 sacks over the past two seasons and may draw interest as an undrafted free agent.

Duke Thomas is a solid cornerback to watch for potentially in Round 7 or after the draft. The two-time All-Big 12 honorable mention picked off six passes over the past three seasons and has been a full-time starter since 2013.

Elsewhere, the Bengals may have been among the 29 teams at Duke's Pro Day. They have one of the top safety prospects this year in Jeremy Cash. He's rated as the 53rd-best prospect by CBS and 75th overall by's Lance Zierlein, who compares him to Broncos hard-hitter T.J. Ward.

SOURCES TELL US: "As long as you have a plan for him and play plenty of sub packages that let him play in the box, you will be fine." -- NFC scout


BOTTOM LINE: Deluxe run-supporter who has the closing burst and size to continue his impressive tackle production in the pros. Cash is much too stiff to be asked to make a living in coverage and any team considering him will likely view him as a box safety or hybrid player who is less about a defined position and more about physicality around the line of scrimmage.

The only other Blue Devils with draftable grades are center Matt Skura and kicker Ross Martin. They're both projected to go in the seventh round or be undrafted free agents.

Also of interest at Duke Pro Day was wide receiver Max McCaffrey, Ed McCaffrey's son and Christian McCaffrey's (Stanford running back and Heisman nominee) brother. NFL Draft Scout has McCaffrey ranked the 85th best receiver in the draft, but, his Pro Day performance could change that.