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Bengals defensive line coach at Clemson pro day

The Bengals could be eyeing a big defensive tackle from Clemson.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Clemson Tigers are once again loaded with NFL talent, but the team doesn’t necessarily have any talent the Bengals will be considering with the No. 9 pick.

While quarterback Deshaun Watson, cornerback Cordrea Tankersley and wide receiver Mike Williams are first-round prospects, it doesn’t look like they will be in play when the Bengals are on the clock. Watson and Tankersley don’t fill a need with this team, which is why their pro day performance from Thursday isn’t all too real relevant for Cincinnati and there will likely be guys rated higher than Williams by the Bengals when the No. 9 pick rolls around.

The Bengals had defensive line coach Jacob Burney at the event, which indicates the team is looking at defensive tackle Carlos Watkins. The 309-pound big man was a force in the middle for the Tigers en route to their national championship this past season.

Watkins first became a full-time starter as a junior in 2015, earning All-ACC honors after recording 34 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. As a senior, he racked up a team-high 10.5 sacks to go along with 50 tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss.

Those are big-time numbers for a lineman who plays in the middle, though he played both nose and 3-technique at Clemson. He’d probably be more of a 3-tech in a 4-3 defense like the Bengals run, but he’s certainly capable of getting significant run at the nose, where Domata Peko has been starting for years, before departing this offseason. Perhaps Watkins can be an adequate replacement as someone projected to go in the Round 3-4 range. Though, the hope is that Andrew Billings, last year’s fourth round pick, develops into the team’s starting nose tackle.

If the Bengals want to find another tight end in the latter rounds, Jordan Leggett has been one of the best in college football over the past two years. According to Tony Pauline, the Bengals “spent a significant amount of time with” Leggett, who had 46 receptions for 736 yards (16.0 avg.) and scored seven times in Clemson's 2016 national championship season. As a junior in 2015, he caught 40 passes for 525 yards and eight touchdowns.

Leggett is also someone projected to go in that Round 3-4 range, which is probably where the Bengals would draft a tight end, if they want one. It’s not a need position, but with Tyler Eifert continually banged up and hitting free agency next year, adding another tight end may be a wise move.

Elsewhere on offense, running back Wayne Gallman was a monster for the Tigers whenever his number was called. At 6’1”, 210 pounds, Gallman is a physical back who can run between the tackles and has enough speed to get to the outside.

Gallman actually set Clemson’s single season rushing record in 2015 with 1,527 yards and leaves Clemson fourth in career rushing yardage. This past year, Gallman ran for 1,133 yards and 17 scores on 232 carries (4.9 avg.) He too projects as a Round 3-4 prospect, and it just so happens the Bengals have two fourth-round picks, so perhaps they’ll use one or both on Tigers players.

Two defensive tackles on the Bengals' current roster attended Clemson: Brandon Thompson and DeShawn Williams. So it wouldn’t be shocking to see the team draft another former Clemson star.