The East-West Shrine Game takes place on Saturday with many NFL hopefuls looking to boost their draft stock.
Who will be this year’s Cody Core? Here’s a look at four prospects that the Bengals should be keeping close tabs on this weekend during the game.
Erik Magnuson, OT, Michigan
The Bengals should add another right tackle this offseason, preferably one who can play other spots on the offensive line, too. With all of the potential shifting throughout the line with Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler hitting free agency in addition to Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher needing competition, adding a versatile lineman like Erik Magnuson would be smart.
One of the better right tackles in the nation, Magnuson was an All-Big Ten First Team pick by both coaches and media after starting at right tackle every game. He earned Third-Team All-Big Ten honors as a junior, which his first season as a starter at tackle.
He was a starting guard prior to that, so he has experience across the line, something the Bengals desire from all their linemen.
Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic
The Bengals must add a defensive end at some point in this draft. If they fail to do so early, Trey Hendrickson is someone to watch for in the latter rounds. He garnered first-team All-Conference USA honors in 2015 after finishing tied for second in the FBS with 13.5 sacks to go with 15 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles.
He earned those same honors in 2016 after racking up 51 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 9.5 sacks. He’s one of the top prospects PFF is watching at the Shrine Game:
The practice reports have been raving about Hedrickson’s pass-rushing ability, and that’s no surprise after he posted the nation’s No. 3 pass-rush grade, finishing with nine sacks, 13 hits, and 56 hurries on his 318 rushes. It’s a big week for Hendrickson, as he’ll always have to answer questions about competition level, playing in the Sun Belt Conference, but he’s had good showings in two games against Miami, as well as a game against Florida, over the last two years (15 pressures in those three games).
At 6’4, 270 pounds, Hendrickson is right at that frame the Bengals like their defensive ends to be coming out of college. He’ll probably go sometime in Day 3 of the draft, and he could be a solid pickup for a pass-rusher-needy Bengals team.
Avery Gennesy, OT, Texas A&M
While Magnuson is a right tackle with experience at multiple spots, Avery Gennesy is strictly a left tackle, and a promising one at that. Despite blocking for a host of different quarterbacks over the past two seasons, Gennesy has done well as pass-blocker in an SEC loaded with pass-rushers, but his run-blocking leaves a lot to be desired.
Gennesy is projected in the Round 3 range of this year’s draft, which is about where I think the Bengals would start seriously considering a tackle. They don’t need to spend another high pick on a tackle, but landing a guy like Gennesy in the latter rounds is something to consider.
Chase Roullier, G/C, Wyoming
If the Bengals want to shore up their interior offensive line, not to mention upgrade the center spot, Chase Roullier could be a name to watch for. Roullier spent two seasons at guard before switching to center this past season, for which he earned all-American honors.
Roullier helped pave the way for running back Brian Hill, who finished fourth in the nation in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. This, after Roullier was rated by Pro Football Focus as the No. 1 overall graded offensive guard in the nation in 2015.
A PFF top 101 player coming into the season, Roullier made a smooth transition to center (No. 12 overall grade) after finishing as one of the best run-blocking guards in the nation a year ago. He has the quickness to make the necessary reach blocks in a zone-blocking scheme, and he’s proficient at making blocks on the move—something Wyoming took advantage of with him pulling quite a bit from center in their scheme. Zone-blocking teams will likely have interest in Roullier, and this week is a great chance for him to show his versatility after three strong years of grading in the PFF system.
The Bengals aren’t going to spend a high pick on a center, so a guy like Roullier in Rounds 3-4 will be worth watching for.