After their busy draft weekend, the Bengals continued to give fans more to talk about with a number of College Free Agent (CFA) signings.
Most notable among this undrafted rookie class, is Auburn running back, Onterio McCalebb. Though he posted the best forty time (4.34) at the scouting combine, at 168 pounds, he’s thought to be too light to endure as an NFL running back. Consequently, McCalebb will be getting some looks as a return or coverage specialist while other reports have him moving to cornerback for the rookie mini-camp later this month. If his shut-down talent can rise to match his speed, the Bengals may finally add some depth to a long-standing thin spot on its roster.
Equally notable is the linebacker from New Mexico – Highlands, Jordan Campbell. Smallish at 5′ 11″ and 249 pounds, Campbell suffered from off-field troubles at USC and college transfer difficulties at Louisville before ending up at UNM-H where he averaged over ten tackles, 2.4 tackles for a loss and 1 sack per game. Praised for his strength and workout regimen, Campbell, who’s highlight films have become viral YouTube classics, was a two-time All American. He played a number of downs on offense and proved extremely productive as linebacker in both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses.
Two other CFAs will get a look at the mini-camp at defensive tackle. At 6′ 2″ 302# from Indiana, Larry Black is a local Cincinnati standout from Wyoming High School. In his four years at IU, he played in all 48 games, starting in 40. He’s criticized for a lack of consistency and growth from a standout freshman season for the Hoosiers in 2009. At 6′ 5″ 270#, Travis Chappelear split his college eligibility between Missouri State and Northwest Missouri State, where he finished his senior year with 63 tackles and two blocked punts. Along with his totally legit NFL frame, he posted great pro-day numbers posting a 4.7 forty, a 37″ vertical and 38 reps at 225# on the bench.
In the defensive backfield, the Bengals have signed two linebackers and two cornerbacks. At 6′ 2″ 232#, Jason Dimanche from Southern Illinois University posted great stats playing linebacker for a defense ranked in the top ten nationally. At 6′ 1″ 237#, Bruce Taylor, the Virginia Tech linebacker, worked through injuries as a junior to average over six tackles per game including 11 in the Hokies’ bowl win over Rutgers. Cornerbacks Terrance Brown, 5′ 11″ 176# from Stanford and Troy Stoudemire, 5′ 10″ 199# from Minnesota both posted great numbers in terms of tackles, solo tackles and tackles for a loss as well as great games in big games as a senior.