Bengals ink former Florida speedster Levonte Whitfield

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PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 06: Levonte Whitfield #7 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates after scoring on a 100-yard kickoff return against the Auburn Tigers in the fourth quarter of the 2014 Vizio BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl on January 6, 2014 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 06: Levonte Whitfield #7 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates after scoring on a 100-yard kickoff return against the Auburn Tigers in the fourth quarter of the 2014 Vizio BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl on January 6, 2014 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Bengals are making no attempt to hide their agenda. After signing former Florida WR Kermit Whitfield, speed is definitely the theme.

The Bengals made a move to strengthen their wide receiver corps. On Saturday, former Florida State WR Levonte “Kermit” Whitfield signed on to play with Cincinnati.

Recently, Whitfield had a stint with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted college free agent. As Cincinnati tries to upgrade every aspect of a dismal 6-9-1 campaign, this signing flows with the overall theme for the new season. Speed is the new direction for Cincinnati. With the additions of John Ross (Mr. 422) and Josh Malone, the Bengals are valiantly attempting to erase the “old and slow” moniker of 2016.

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Whitfield’s measurables put him at 5’8” and 180 pounds. Looking again at the speed attribute, he clocked a 4.44 at the NFL Combine. As a kick returner, he stockpiled 2,386 yards.

A quick analysis, per NFL.com.

"Gadget player who can be activated with jet sweeps, reverses and wide receiver screens. Kicks it into high gear quickly and is dangerous after the catch. Has speed to split two deep safeties from slot. Surprising body control for small receiver and can win the occasional 50/50 down the field. Is short, but with compact lower body. Was used in intermediate routes. Has kick return experience."

If Whitfield’s size and overall description remind you of anyone, just think Andrew Hawkins. Both players are small in stature but pack a serious punch in the open field. Hawkins was beastly with his open-field moves.

This isn’t a move to replace any of the current Bengals special teams players. Whitfield can certainly be viewed as either insurance or a nice change of pace kick returner. Alex Erickson and Adam Jones have those duties locked down. But, there’s always room for another speedy weapon.

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The Bengals will likely use Whitfield to spell their all-star lineup. Adding more speed and agility to an already nightmarish WR corp doesn’t bode well for opposing defenses. Maybe 50 years in the league has convinced Mike Brown and the Bengals to stock up on John Madden’s favorite commodity.

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