Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said the team is open to any position in the first round except for quarterback.
"We’ll go for the best player," Lewis said. "And we’ll get a really good player and hopefully the guy will have a strong, healthy career." Overall, it is not a surprise that the Bengals will bypass quarterback in the first round, but the mindset of being complacent at the position is interesting. Andy Dalton is not among the top players at his spot, and his contract is very team friendly. If the Bengals wanted to pursue a better option, although that is easier said then done, Dalton's contract is easy to move on from. But the Bengals remain certain Dalton is their guy.
The MMQB's Peter King suggests UConn DB Obi Melifonwu could run in the low 4.4s at the NFL Combine.
This would open up a transition to corner. Tall safeties who have length and can run will always be viewed by some teams as corners, since the latter is considered a premium position and the contracts back it up. Plus, those types are difficult to find. Look at Damarious Randall, plus many teams viewed T.J. Green as a corner last year. "I know NFL guys who think, ‘I’d love to try him [at corner]. Let’s see if he fails,’" Mike Mayock told Peter King. Melifonwu stands at 6-foot-4 and 219-pounds.
NFL Network's Mike Mayock believes Wisconsin edge rusher T.J. Watt has a similar game to Clay Matthews.
Mayock calls the comparison "easy" since Watt is an "edge who can drop in coverage and has a motor that just won’t stop." We would point to Clay Matthews' outstanding athleticism as a major tool in why he is successful in the NFL, including a 10 yard split of 1.49 seconds and above-average scores in every other test, especially 3-cone and the short shuttle. Will Watt match those testing numbers? We know his brother put on a show in Indianapolis.
One AFC college scouting director believes LSU WR Malachi Dupre and Tennessee WR Josh Malone can grow into No. 2 receivers on an NFL team.
What skills matter to this personnel director? The duo "play big in the red zone and they bring some big-play ability as vertical threats," he told Bucky Brooks of NFL.com. Malone played with the better quarterback in Josh Dobbs, however, Dobbs lacked consistency for years. LSU's passing game was virtually non-existent. Perhaps the two exit the NFL Combine as risers.
NFL.com's Buck Brooks believes Tennessee edge rusher Derek Barnett possesses "nearly identical skills" to Charges edge rusher Joey Bosa.
Brooks claims the two share a "blue-collar game built on grit, hustle, and technique." We think Bosa has far more bend and overall athleticism than Barnett, but the foundation of the Vols' pass rusher's game is laid out there. Brooks suggests Barnett should be in the mix with Myles Garrett as the top pass rusher on the board. That is extremely high praise, and Barnett's consistent production since his first season can be used to back that up.
A coach whose team opposed Washington freshman WR Terrell Bynum at the high school level said that "[h]onestly, he's the guy I would like to clone if I could do it."
"He's explosive, so when he catches the ball, you'd better make the tackle because he'll make plays with his legs," the coach said. "He loves a broken field where he can use his quickness and vision to make plays." One area of improvement that the coach forwarded for the 6-foot-1, 177-pounder -- strength and physicality. "When we were physical against him, that's when he struggled," he explained. An opposing player likewise said that "[h]e hated guys being physical against him. You could see it in his eyes." That player wasn't all doom-and-gloom, though, and praised Bynum's sharp route-running. That he is already a technician on his routes is a very encouraging sign for his development.
Uncommitted three-star 2018 ATH Devon Cooley indicated that UCLA is the current leader for his pledge.
At least for the time being, Cooley doesn't have a ton of options outside the Bruins. Oregon, Colorado and Colorado State are the only other programs to toss him offers. The 6-foot-1, 161-pounder hopes to create more of a name for himself on the spring and summer camp circuit, saying, "I’m going to as many camps as I can, as many college camps, as many event camps, everything I can. I’m going to try to take as many visits as I can. This is my senior year so I have to do something." Rivals ranks him as the No. 29 athlete prospect in the 2018 cycle.
South Mecklenburg High coach Rocky White said that North Carolina freshman DE Jake Lawler is "a special kid – not just in the way he plays, but in the way he does everything."
"If you had 100 Jake Lawlers, you’d go undefeated," White said. "He has good size. He has a fast get-off and uses his hands well." He called his former pupil a "road warrior" when it comes to the weight room. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder ranked as ESPN 300's No. 177 overall prospect in the 2017 cycle. He is already enrolled in classes at UNC.