When it comes to undrafted free agency, sometimes the best acquisitions are made after the first wave of players have been signed.
That's often how the Bengals land some of their best free agents in normal NFL free agency as they tend to avoid shelling out the big-money deals required to be active in the first wave. This year, one of their best UDFA signings came a week after the 2016 NFL Draft concluded in the form of Marshall cornerback Corey Tindal.
One of the best corners that Conference USA had to offer over the past three years, Tindal was a C-USA All-Freshman team pick in 2013 and earned honorable mentions the past two seasons. He didn't sign with a team until he got a tryout with the Bengals and signed with them a week after the conclusion of this year's NFL Draft.
After sitting his first year at Marshall (2012) as an academic non-qualifier, Tindal made an immediate impact as a redshirt freshman in 2013. He started 12 games, all at nickel, and was fifth among Herd in tackles with 61 (40 solos), including five tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and six pass breakups.
This past season, Tindal posted career highs in interceptions (two), pass breakups (15) and sacks (3) in 2015, helping the Herd to finish 25th in the FBS in passing yards allowed (191.9 per game) and 12th in scoring defense (17.8 points allowed per game).
Weight: 187 pounds
Pro Day: 40-yard dash: 4.50 seconds; Bench Press: 9 Reps; Vertical: 34.5"; Broad jump: 9'8"
According to Spotrac, Tindal signed a three-year, $1,620,000 contract with the Bengals, including an average annual salary of $540,000. If he is able to make the 53-man roster this coming season, Tindal will earn a base salary of $450,000. He's under contract through the 2018 season before becoming a restricted free agent in 2019.
Tindal finished his Marshall career with 198 total tackles, 11 for a loss, three interceptions, five sacks and 34 pass breakups before declaring for the draft this year, foregoing his senior year. Because he didn't take part in the NFL Scouting Combine, Tindal flew under the draft radar of many this offseason. Walter Football did give him a Round 6-UDFA grade, while CBS Sports gave him a Round 7-UDFA grade.
Another knock on Tindal is his small frame at just 5'9" and 187 pounds. Then again, that can be a good thing for a nickel corner who's often going against smaller and quicker receivers. It's hard to truly gauge his stock until training camp and the preseason begin, but Tindal certainly has the ability to make some noise.
Odds of making the roster
The problem for Tindal is the Bengals are very deep at cornerback. You have to assume William Jackson III, Dre Kirkpatrick, Adam Jones, Darqueze Dennard and Josh Shaw are locks to make the team this year. That means the sixth corner spot will feature a battle between Chris Lewis-Harris, Tindal and other fringe corners vying for a spot on the roster.
Lewis-Harris has been a decent corner to this point in his career, but if Tindal can even come close to being as good as him, you'd have to think the Bengals may keep Tindal since he's younger with more room to grow and is property of the Bengals for four years.
But until we see what Tindal is made of, he doesn't have much of a chance to make the roster. Even a good showing in camp and through the preseason doesn't assure him of a roster spot, but it would give him a strong chance of making the practice squad.
That's where Tindal's best odds of staying with the Bengals lie.