The Cincinnati Bengals hosted Central Arkansas cornerback Tremon Smith for a visit and could likely be a day three pick.
With the draft just a week away, the Cincinnati Bengals are finishing up their top 30 pre-draft visits. The team hosted Central Arkansas cornerback Tremon Smith according to Joe Goodberry of the Athletic. Smith would primarily be a slot corner in the NFL but he also has experience returning kicks which are an area the Bengals are also looking to address this draft.
Cincinnati has not hosted many cornerback visits this offseason which is not surprising with the vast needs elsewhere but finding a developmental project in the later rounds would be a good spot for the Bengals to grab one. The team is set for 2018 going in with cornerbacks William Jackson III, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Darqueze Dennard but could have a hole next offseason. Dennard is playing on a fifth-year option in 2018 and might be out of the Bengals price range in 2019 with other contracts like Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap already needing extensions.
While Kirkpatrick had a down year last season due to numerous nagging injuries, if he doesn’t have a better season in 2018 he could find himself being the one replaced by a young draft pick. Dennard is the likely candidate to draft to possibly replace, however, with the Bengals already paying Kirkpatrick top cornerback money and not wanting to spend the same for a slot cornerback.
Smith was projected originally to be a seventh-round pick but has moved up the draft boards since his pro day where he recorded a 4.32 40-yard dash and improved in other exercises. Cincinnati has three fifth-round picks that they could find themselves using on Smith and address a possible need for a later round pick. While he played for a smaller school against lesser talent, he shows the instincts and athleticism to be able to compete for a starting role in the NFL.
His previous position at quarterback in high school gives him a great sense of what quarterbacks will do. Smith also has experience playing baseball which has translated into his football with his ability to track the ball in the air. Here is what Lance Zeirlien had to say about the young corner.
"Extremely confident and extremely greedy as an on-ball defender, Smith was asked to play the role of island defender and did so at a high level. While he faced a lower level of competition, he possesses the size, speed, athletic ability and instincts that should be able to translate to the league. Smith has the potential to fight for either an outside or slot role, but he’ll need to play with better discipline in order to avoid penalties and big plays."
During his four years at Central Arkansas, Smith acquired 146 tackles, 53 passes defended, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, and 15 interceptions. The Bengals need playmakers and players that will contest the ball which is a big reason they are doing their due diligence with Smith. He will get burned from time to time when he misses on those opportunities but the good plays outweigh the bad with him.
Adding in the fact that Smith has experience returning kicks is also something that catches the Bengals eyes. Cincinnati is desperate to find some in the special teams department that can make plays. He would likely be a special teams member with very little defensive snaps in his rookie season while he develops but could still make waves there if given the opportunity.