2013 Senior Bowl: A Look at Players Who May Be Future Bengals

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November 3, 2012; Gainesville FL, USA; Florida Gators running back Mike Gillislee (23) runs with the ball as Missouri Tigers linebacker Zaviar Gooden (25) defends during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Missouri Tigers 14-7. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Linebacker

A favorite prospect at the Will position, Khaseem Greene from Rutgers, had a very underwhelming performance. Greene struggled to get off blocks and made more tackles downfield than at the line of scrimmage. He is blazingly fast, but the former safety is unable to stack-and-shed, although good in coverage and playing sideline-to-sideline.

For a better value on draft day, Missouri linebacker Zavier Gooden, notched a performance that should garner him a long, hard look on the second day, especially if a Will linebacker is not taken with the first couple selections. Gooden racked up an interception by dropping into zone coverage, watching the quarterback’s eyes, then moving decisively into the throwing lane. He is expected to run a sub-4.5 40 and displayed the decisive, explosive play of another Mizzou alumni, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.

On the other side of the linebackers, Sio Moore from Connecticut played like the prototypical Sam backer for Mike Zimmer. He picked up a sack rushing off the edge and looked natural playing in space. Moving down to rush the passer effectively in sub-packages and playing well downhill to stop the run? Moore could be a second-day steal.

Defensive End

Ezekial Ansah is a ridiculous talent. He has only played football for a few years, so he is still learning the game. Word is that he was asked if he preferred a two, three or four point stance and then needed an explanation of what each is. He had a poor week of practice, likely because it is still a learning experience for him, but he flashed a sign of things to come, using his freakish athletic ability to dominate the line of scrimmage with power or speed. He was also quick to sniff out two screen passes, following the running back and ruining the play.

As promising of a showing as Ansah had, Southern Methodist defensive end Margus Hunt had the opposite effect. Another football newcomer, Hunt has fewer physical tools and, at 26, is a bit old to be a developmental prospect. Of the two, Ansah is the far better prospect at the strong-side defensive end position. With Carlos Dunlap, the Bengals have the luxury of grooming a developmental left defensive end.

In the middle of the two was UCLA’s Datone Jones, who continued to show off his impressive counter moves and surprising speed for a 6’4” man carrying 280 pounds. He by no means took over the game like Ansah did, but his solid consistency drew the praise of Mike Mayock.

A dark horse in the game was Georgia was defensive end Cornelius Washington, another closed-end type. The Bengals have an affinity for Bulldogs, and defensive players Geno Atkins, David Pollack and Odell Thurman have all been selected from UGA. He is another strong side end, but a solid showing against some very good tackle prospects certainly has Georgia on Marvin Lewis’ mind.

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