The Bengals' Pro Day extravagance continued Monday as they popped up in Morgantown, West Virginia for the first day of the final week of Pro Day events.
The West Virginia Mountaineers put their NFL talent on display on Monday, which included the man some consider this year's best safety prospect in Karl Joseph. That is, if Joseph is healthy and ready for the upcoming season after tearing his ACL this past college season.
Before that, Joseph was viewed as a first-round prospect and one of the best defenders in this draft. It's hard to say if he'll be ready for the 2016 season or if he'll need to open the year on PUP, but at least Joseph is remaining optimistic about his recovery.
"I'm on schedule -- I think I'm ahead of schedule right now. Dr. (James) Andrews said I'm ahead of schedule and I look good, so I'll be ready by training camp," Joseph told WVU Sports.
Joseph did perform 19 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, but didn't take part in any of the other drills as he continues to rehab his knee. He entered 2015 already with three seasons of starting experience, 186 tackles and 14 tackles for loss under his belt.
Joseph took his game to another level in 2015 as he was tied for the FBS lead with five interceptions when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in a non-contact drill during a practice in the first week of October.
With the draft still three weeks away, NFL teams should have a good idea by then when Joseph will be able to return to a full-contact NFL practice by the time training camps open. If it looks like Joseph is on pace for that, then I believe he'll go somewhere in Round 2.
But if it looks like Joseph is even iffy to be ready for the start of the season, there's no telling how far he could fall. Either way, I think the Bengals will take a hard look at him since Reggie Nelson is gone and Shawn Williams is on the final year of his deal, not to mention there's no other proven safety on the roster.
The third safety was practically a starter for the Bengals last year, so having a guy like Joseph waiting in the wings may be a wise option in the short and long-term.
Joseph isn't the only West Virginia safety to watch out for though. KJ Dillon quietly had two solid seasons to end his college career, racking up 111 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 14 pass deflections and four interceptions over the last two years.
Both CBS Sports and NFL.com rate Dillon as a Day 3 prospect. If the Bengals don't take a guy like Joseph earlier in the draft, I think they'll target someone like Dillon before the draft ends as only four safeties are currently on the roster.
Elsewhere, Mountaineers running back Wendell Smallwood, who was arguably the team's best player in 2015. The 5'10", 208-pound ball of fire rushed for 1,519 yards and nine touchdowns in 13 games to go 26 catches for 160 yards. His size leaves a lot of concern that he can hold up in the pros, but he should be a nice offensive weapon for whatever team drafts him.
One other Mountaineer to watch out for is do-it-all backer Nick Kwiatkoski. The 6'2", 243-pounder played all three linebacker spots across his career, As a sophomore in 2013 starting at the WILL, Kwiatkoski led the team with 86 tackles to go with 6.5 tackles for loss two sacks and three interceptions.
He then made 96 tackles and 10.5 tackles from the middle in 2014. Kwiatkoski capped off his career by earning first-team All-Big 12 honors after recording with his 85 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and three interceptions as a senior playing at SAM.
Despite great college production at three different backer spots, Kwiatkoski is projected as a late Day 3 draft selection. He's someone to look for if the Bengals want to carry a little more linebacker depth into training camp, even though this position is already fairly deep for Cincinnati.
Of all the names mentioned, who intrigues you the most for the Bengals?