Bengals Minicamp: Lewis Loves his Rookies, & Mike Zimmer Ready to Hunt

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May 10, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick tight end Tyler Eifert (85) warms up during the Bengals rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis has spent the past 5 months scouting and breaking down film of all of the rookie slated to attend this weekend’s rookie minicamp, and after finally being able to get them into PBS and watch them go through a light NFL practice, he’s liking what he sees:

"I think to a man they impressed me. I wasn’t disappointed, really, where anybody was in relationship to what we expected through the draft. I think it’s evident that both Tyler and Giovani will be able to really help us offensively and have an opportunity to carve out roles and niches early on in their rookie seasons. The game’s not going to be too big for either one of them and that was really evident in the first two practices today."

That statement says a lot to me, as Lewis can be rather stubborn when he has talented rookies at positions where there’s already a veteran presence. Bernard will be battling with BenJarvus Green-Ellis for touches, while Eifert will start out behind Jermaine Gresham, but if today’s practice is any indication of what’s to come, those two should have no problem getting onto the field early and often in 2013.

Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer also got a new toy to play with in SMU defensive end Margus Hunt, and although the former world-class shot put and discus thrower is as raw as they come, Zimmer is confident Hunt can thrive in his system:

"When you watch him on tape, it’s not all the time you see it, but there are enough flashes that you see where you go, ‘Wow, this guy can really run, he can accelerate, he’s got strength’ — all the things that you’re looking for. That’s why this is a good situation for us and for him — we can teach him how we want it done, and he’s going to learn a new defense a little bit. Defensive line is defensive line, but it’s a little different techniques, and I think we can use his ability in our system a little bit better. Football-wise, he’s about 12. But he’s an exceptionally hard worker. I don’t want us to sound like he’s just learning the game, because he’s a good prospect. But he’s just learning more and more about it. He plays really hard. We were watching tape today, and I said to Jay (Gruden, offensive coordinator), when he cleared a couple offensive linemen, his acceleration to the quarterback was as good as I’ve seen from anybody. So he has a lot of things he does really, really well."