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Film Room: Bengals UDFAs show promise

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Every college free agent the Bengals signed brings a unique skillset.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 07 Temple at USF Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Bengals netted moderate success with their class of undrafted free agents in 2019. Quarterback Jake Dolegala, offensive lineman O’Shea Dugas, and wide receivers Stanley Morgan Jr. and Damion Willis have stuck around for year two of head coach Zac Taylor’s tenure.

This year, they signed 10 more to make up the roster overhaul.

Who do you think makes the cut? Let’s go through all of them.

Kendall Futrell - edge/linebacker - East Carolina

The Bengals lack depth at the edge position and many of their players are more naturally defensive ends and opposed to 3-4 outside linebackers. This could give Futrell a chance at making the roster. However, at 6’2” 226 he has size that is comparable to 4th Round draft pick Akeem Davis-Gaither and, like Davis-Gaither, he could play as an off-ball linebacker as well.

He has some nice pass rush moves and turned 11 of his pressures into sacks last season.

In this clip, he does a great job dipping and ripping under the offensive tackle’s block and getting to the quarterback for the sack.

Trey Dishon - defensive tackle - Kansas State

Dishon also has some nice moves, but at 311 pounds, he is a very different player.

He has a good anchor, moves well, and has quick hands.

In this clip he uses his hands to get off the block and get to the quarterback.

Tyler Clark - defensive tackle - Georgia

Clark is another big strong dude.

He is 6-3 289 but actually looks much more stout.

He is a tough, scrappy player who pushes offensive linemen back, driving them with power into the pocket. Here he throws the offensive linemen to the side and tackles the back in the backfield.

It’s interesting to note that Clark and Futrell were given the biggest signing bonuses out of all the college free agents the team signed. The difference between their $10,000 bonuses and everyone else’s is negligible, but it is worth remembering.

Clay Cordasco - guard - Oregon State

How do I put this in terms that are acceptable to the standards of this website?

Cordasco is a jerk on the field.

He finishes his blocks and looks for work. Which is to say he is always looking to get another shot in on somebody. That’s a good start for an offensive lineman.

He also is pretty athletic, but he does have some issues. He gets pushed back a lot, loses his balance, and misses blocks on stunts.

This clip is a pretty good representation of who he is.

Cordasco (56) gets beat to the play side, but he pushes the defender past the ball and the play finishes by putting him on the ground.

Josh Knipfel - offensive lineman - Iowa State

This clip shows Knipfel working up to the second level on the outside zone.

He’s a good athlete with good strength, and he gets a good strike in when he gets to the defender.

Knipfel can be a bit too aggressive and come into blocks out of control, causing him to miss the block.

Overall, Knipfel and Cordasco fit the Bengals profile. They both have a mean streak and are the type of athlete that the team is looking for.

Mitchell Wilcox - tight end - South Florida

Wilcox is an aggressive blocker but lacks the strength to be dominant in that area.

He has good speed, good hands, adjusts well to the ball.

In this clip he makes a tough catch over the middle and in traffic.

Marcel Spears Jr. - linebacker - Iowa State

The Bengals added three of the draft’s best pass-defending linebackers with Logan Wilson, Markus Bailey, and Davis-Gaither.

Keeping suit with this trend, they added Spears soon after the draft. He doesn’t fill gaps or get off of blocks particularly well when defending the run, but he looks pretty good in coverage.

In this clip he is almost perfectly synchronized with the tight end as he drops into coverage then cuts underneath the route to make a play on the ball.

Isiah Swann - cornerback - Dartmouth

Swann’s ball skills are sick.

As the lone Ivy League alum on the team, Swann had nine interceptions in 2018 and four more in 2019. He shows great concentration on the pick in this clip.

Adding Swann and Winston Rose (who had nine picks in the CFL last season) will make for some interesting competition on the Bengals’ depth chart at cornerback.

Devwah Whaley - running back - Arkansas

Whaley is an interesting player. He never put up crazy numbers at Arkansas, but he has some skills.

He’s not the fastest back, but he’s pretty shifty and has shown the ability to contribute in the pass game as both a blocker and a receiver.

He’s also a strong dude. This clip is an oldie, but a goodie.

After Whaley breaks a long run, Jamal Adams successfully pushes him out of bounds, but Whaley delivers a ridiculous stiff-arm on the future top-10 pick.

Scotty Washington - wide receiver - Wake Forest

The Bengals certainly have a type when it comes to wide receivers. They love guys who can adjust to the ball and make contested catches.

This clip was no contest. Washington does a great job of going up and high pointing the ball for a touchdown.


There will be some interesting battles in camp, but based on their film and team needs, I think that Futrell, Dishon, and Swann have the best chance of making this team in 2020.

This would be the opposite of last year’s UDFA class, which was dominated by offense.

On that side of the ball, Whaley has definitely caught my eye. He never really broke out in college, but he has some skills. Could the Bengals find a role for him? It’s already crowded enough at running back.

Injuries are what create opportunities for players who went undrafted. They’re good enough to fill out a 90-man roster, but chances for advancement are far and few between. If A.J. Green didn’t get hurt last year, does Damion Willis not only make the 53-man roster, but become a starter in Week 1? Not likely.

Every one of these 10 players can impact what the final roster ends up becoming. And if they stick around, hopefully it’s for more positive reasons.