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Bengals announce 2016 college free agent signings

The Bengals have completed their post-draft college free agent signing period and have announced the most recent set of additions to the roster.

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Nobody wants to go undrafted, but some players make the most out of it and show the other NFL teams why they should have taken a chance on them in the draft. In the past, players like Vontaze Burfict, Vinny Rey, Emmanuel Lamur, and even Sam Wyche have made impacts on the Bengals' roster despite not being drafted. This year, they're adding 13 new names to the list, including one local prospect, Wisconsin cornerback Darius Hillary, son of former Bengals wide receiver Ira Hillary.

Ryan Brown, DE, Mississippi State

6-6, 267 lbs

Brown is the kind of player who proves that hard work can pay off in the end. He was a strong defensive end in college with the ability to eat up the screen pass and attack the ball with speed and fearlessness. Unfortunately, he's much better at running around blockers than powering through them. He really didn't have much of a chance once linemen got ahold of him, and it's probably why he didn't get drafted.

Read our report on him here. We also interviewed Brown during the leadup to the draft.

Tra Carson, HB, Texas A&M

5-11, 227 lbs

The 5'11", 211-pound Carson ran for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns on 242 carries (4.8 avg) this past season as a senior. He also chipped in 29 catches for 183 yards and one score.

As a junior in 2014, Carson earned Offensive MVP honors in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl after gaining 133 rushing yards on 25 rushes in the Aggies' win over West Virginia. Carson finished that year with a team-high 581 rushing yards to go with five scores on a team-high 124 carries.

Read our report on Carson here.

Alex Cooper, G/C, Houston

6-4, 300 lbs

Cooper brought a certain level of toughness to the Houston Cougars' football team. He brings the experience of playing every position on the offensive line but center in college. He also has enough lateral quickness to get the better of most defensive linemen and has the leadership of a former team captain. Unfortunately, NFL coaches didn't like his heavy feet or his stiff form, causing him to go undrafted.

Read our report on Cooper here.

David Dean, DT, Virginia

6-1, 295 lbs

Dean is one of those smaller, penetrating defensive linemen in the mold of current Bengals players at the position in Geno Atkins and DeShawn Williams. As a senior, Dean had 4.5 sacks and 8 tackles for loss, along with a forced fumble. He had 10.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss in four seasons with the Cavaliers.

Read our report on Dean here.

Alex Erickson, WR, Wisconsin

6-0, 195 lbs

The former Badger steadily progressed in his three years on the field, increasing his receiving yards, catches and receiving touchdowns each seasoin. In 2015, Erickson logged 77 receptions for 978 yards and seven touchdowns, making him a valuable asset to the Wisconsin offense.

Read our report on Erickson here.

Antwane Grant, WR, Western Kentucky

6-0, 202 lbs

Grant finished his two-year college career at WKU with 96 catches for 1,210 yards (12.6 average) and 13 touchdowns. He also ran the ball three times for 65 yards and one score. After joining the Bengals, he sat down for an interview with Cincy Jungle to tell us about what he hopes to bring to the team.

Read our report on Grant here.

Darien Harris, LB, Michigan State

6-0, 224 lbs

This past season, Harris racked up 90 tackles and nine tackles for loss for a Spartans defense ranked among the best in college football.  According to's Lance Zierlein, Harris was projected a late-round pick or priority free agent that will likely be a WILL linebacker in the NFL.

Read our report on Harris here.

Darius Hillary, CB, Wisconsin

5-11, 183 lbs

Like his fellow Badger who is reportedly joining the Bengals in wide receiver Alex Erickson, Hillary had a solid Pro Day, with a 4.46 40-yard dash and a 33.5" vertical leap. Most Wisconsin fans liked Hillary's performance with the team, but in three years of seeing defensive action, he logged only one interception. He's also relatively slight at 5'11" and 185 pounds, but will likely be vying for a Practice Squad spot when it's all said and done. Hillary attended Sycamore High School before going to the University of Wisconsin, and is the son of former Bengals wide receiver Ira Hillary.

Read our full report on Hillary here.

Matt Johnson, QB, Bowling Green

6-0, 212 lbs

The bulk of Johnson's production at BGSU came during his sophomore and senior seasons in college. He had a statistically amazing year for the Falcons in 2015, throwing for 4,946 yards and 46 touchdowns against just eight interceptions. He also had the coveted high completion percentage at 67.3 percent last year, so he has tools Cincinnati can work with going forward. In 2014, Johnson suffered a season-ending hip injury and missed the remainder of the season. Johnson has been touted as one of the best undrafted signings this year.

Read our full report on Johnson here.

Dy'Shawn Mobley, HB, Eastern Kentucky

5-11, 220 lbs

Before the 2016 offseason, Mobley was considered to be one of the better running back prospects in the NFL Draft. A less productive senior season at Eastern Kentucky and a less than stellar performance at the Combine caused him to completely drop out of the seventh round this year. But, he has enough talent to get work done in the NFL if he can bring the whole package together.

Read our full report on Mobley here.

Alex Redmond, G/C, UCLA

6-5, 294 lbs

Redmond, a 6'5", 294-pound lineman, started 31 games for the Bruins over the last three seasons, mostly at guard. The junior entered the 2016 NFL Draft following the Bruins' regular-season finale while opting not to play in his team's Bowl game.

Read our full report on Redmond here.

Alonzo Russell, WR, Toledo

6-4, 206 lbs

An impact player every year of college, Russell has a great shot of earning a roster spot for a Bengals team in need of help at receiver. As a redshirt freshman in 2012, Russell caught 56 passes for 960 yards and five scores. He caught 59 passes for 728 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore in 2013. There's a lot of young competition at wide receiver, but Russell should be someone to watch.

Read our full report on Russell here.

John Weidenaar, OT, Montana State

6-7, 295 lbs

A full-time left tackle for the Bobcats,  Weidenaar held down that spot in each of his 38 games at Montana State. His 38 consecutive starts was among the longest streaks ever held by an MSU player (record was 48). The Bengals also worked him out prior to the Draft, so he was someone they had shown interest in prior to now.

Read our full report on Weidenaar here.