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Bengals privately met with kicker Zane Gonzalez at ASU pro day

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The Bengals seem intrigued by Gonzalez, the best kicker in this year’s NFL Draft. And, they should be. His accolades are highly impressive and he’s likely to be an early-round draft pick.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the first phrase of free agency over, the Bengals are getting busy at pro days around the nation.

On Thursday, head coach Marvin Lewis and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons traveled to Arizona State pro day where kicker Zane Gonzalez put his talents on display.

Here’s what Tony Pauline of Draft Analysts had to say about the Bengals being at ASU on Thursday:

Arizona State

Still waiting on numbers but here’s a very interesting note from ASU pro day; I’m told Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis and the Bengals special teams coach made the trip out west.

The pair are on hand to scout Zane Gonzalez, our top rated field goal/place kicker as the team is expected to select one at some point during the draft.

Nearly unanimously considered the best kicker in this year’s draft, Gonzalez was a Lou Groza Award finalist after a highly impressive senior season. He finished his college career as the FBS career record holder for most field goals made (96) and had 494 points, also an FBS record for points by a kicker. He’s broken tons of other records, including averaging 9.7 points per game in his career (51 games played). He also never played a game in which he didn’t score a point. As far as kickoffs, go, he kicked 60 of his 79 kickoffs in 2016 for touchbacks (75.9 percent); that percentage was good for fourth nationally while the 60 total ranked third in the nation.

Getting excited about him?

The fact that Lewis and Simmons both attended the pro day is pretty relevant as it means they’re likely very interested in Gonzalez, as they should be. The Bengals desperately need to improve their kicker situation after a 2016 season littered with issues at the position.

In 2016, his senior season, Gonzalez attempted nine field goals from a distance of 50 yards or greater and made seven of them. If you remember, the Bengals didn’t make any field goals from 50+ yards in 2016. The average length of Gonzalez’s successful field goals makes this past season was 40.7 yards and he made 13 field goals from 40+ yards, which was three more than any other player in the country. I can continue rattling off his impressive accomplishments, and you can also read them on the Sun Devils’ website. There’s a lot more...

But, will the Bengals be willing to draft a kicker as early in the draft as Gonzalez is expected to be taken? Some draft analysts believe Gonzalez should be a Day 2 pick in the draft and off the board by the end of Round 3. During the Reese's Senior Bowl, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah reportedly mentioned that an NFL scout gave Gonzalez the highest grade he's ever given a kicker.

Wide receiver Tim White, cornerback De'Chavon 'Gump' Hayes and tight end Kody Kohl were the other Sun Devils who impressed most at ASU's pro day on Thursday.

Here’s a look at Gonzalez’s college stats via ESPN and game log for 2016:

Would you like to see the Bengals draft Gonzalez, even if it means using a Round 2-3 pick on him?