Cincinnati Bengals’ Prospect Watch: Randy Gregory
Nebraska Cornhuskers’ defensive end Randy Gregory (44) chases down UCLA Bruins’ quarterback Brett Hundley (17). Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
It is never too early in the season to talk draft, so why not start during the bye week? The Cincinnati Bengals shot out of the gate to an impressive 3-0 start and stand alone as the only unbeaten team in the AFC. Out of 180 minutes of football, the Bengals have only trailed their opponents for 46 seconds. With an offense that has scored 80 points in three games, and a defense that has only allowed 33, it is no wonder why NFL.com has the Cincinnati Bengals as the best team in the NFL.
But even the best teams can improve and the Bengals are no different. While Marvin Lewis and company are focused on the NFL, their scouting department is busy gathering film and traveling to college football games looking for the next big playmaker.
Where to go first? If there is any group that could use a set of fresh legs, it is the defensive line. While the line is anchored by Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, it also possesses aging veterans Robert Geathers and Domata Peko who combine for 20 years of NFL experience. The Bengals also don’t really know what they have with second-year player Magus Hunt, the 6’8″ Estonian from SMU who seems to play a little bit of everywhere, but is not yet a full-time complement to Dunlap.
Someone to watch for this Saturday that could really help the Bengals down the line is Nebraska Cornhusker defensive end Randy Gregory. Gregory, a junior, is listed on Cornhusker.com as a 6’6″, 240lb defensive end. He combines speed, agility, and size to overpower his opponent and get after either the quarterback or any unsuspecting ball carrier that might mosey his way. Gregory recorded 10.5 sacks last season while only playing in 10 games for the Huskers. He was listed as the team’s defensive MVP, an All-Big Ten defensive selection, and the National Sophomore Defensive Player of the Year; quite the resume for a guy who has only played one year at Nebraska after transferring from junior college (Arizona Western CC).
Gregory is thought to be a first round prospect, which could easily move into the top ten if his season picks up where it left off. Through three games Gregory has produced 10 tackles (five solo), two TFLs, two sacks, four QB hits, and one forced fumble. This kind of production may put him out of reach for the Bengals, but if other defenders emerge or the needs of opposing teams lie elsewhere, Gregory could be sitting there (hopefully at number 32) giving the Bengals a steal late in the first round; see Darqueze Dennard this year.
Fans can check out Randy Gregory, Saturday night at 9pm ET on the Big 10 Network as the Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-0, ranked 21) host the Illinois Fighting Illini (3-1, unranked).