The Cincinnati Bengals are setting up visits with several prospects in the coming days and weeks before the 2016 NFL Draft kicks off.
On April 19th, the Bengals will have a host of them coming to Paul Brown Stadium for the annual pre-draft workout with players who played their high school and/or college careers in the team’s metro area. The full list has yet to be revealed, but names have been leaking out and will continue to do so until the final list is set.
In addition to Ohio State Buckeyes lineman Adolphus Washington, it looks like Michigan Wolverines linebacker Joe Bolden and Cincinnati Bearcats defensive back Leviticus Payne will be part of the workout.
Cincinnati cornerback Leviticus Payne invited to Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions' local prospect workout days.— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 26, 2016
Former #Michigan LB Joe Bolden told @WCPO he will work out for the @Bengals on April 19— Mike Dyer (@MikeDyer) April 8, 2016
Bolden, who attended Colerain High School in Cincinnati, just finished up his Wolverines career having appeared in 51 games at linebacker while making 28 starts. This past season, the 6'3", 231-pound Bolden was named a co-captain and proceeded to lead the Wolverines with 83 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss.
As a junior in 2014, Bolden racked up 102 tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks. He finished his career with 270 total tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. CBS Sports has him as the 553rd-best prospect in this draft, while NFL.com gave Bolden a 4.6 grade (50/50 Chance of making the roster).
Don't tell Bolden that though as he's already guaranteed he'll be playing on a football field this year. He did have a good showing during the East-West Shrine Game week, but he's still facing an uphill climb to make anything other than a practice squad this year.
As for Payne, he's not ranked as a draftable prospect per any ranking service. Part of that is because the 5'9", 196-pound Payne played a multitude of positions in college, including linebacker, safety and cornerback. One thing is for sure after watching a few of his highlights, and that is Payne knows how to bring the pain:
Bit hit by Cincinnati's Leviticus Payne pic.twitter.com/m4elnp9sUY— William Hirsch (@WilliamAHirsch) October 2, 2015
This past season, Payne finished with 42 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and three pass deflections while playing mainly at corner. He finished his college career with 132 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, two interceptions, 11 pass deflections and five forced fumbles. Payne probably won't hear his name called during the draft, but he looks like someone who could be that hybrid backer/safety the Bengals tend to have at least one of every season.
Still, it's more likely Payne spends a few years on practice squads as he develops into an NFL player while also figuring out what position/role he's best suited for.