The 2018 NFL Draft may have concluded, but the new player influx is not over. The Bengals have already been active in the UDFA market.
Following the conclusion of the NFL Draft, players that didn’t hear their name called on the special weekend are signing contracts with teams as undrafted free agents. This is a chance for the Cincinnati Bengals to bring in players with little contracts and hope to find more gems to load their practice squad and lower depth chart positions with. These are usually small school players that never got a chance to develop fully or show their full potential.
Trayvon Henderson, S, Hawaii
Expected to be a 5-6 round pick, the Bengals found themselves another ballhawk at safety with the Hawaii prospect. Playing smaller competition, Henderson hauled in 237 tackles, 5 sacks, 9 interceptions, 13 passes defended, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 forced fumble. While undersized at 6’0″ and 200 pounds, he is known as an aggressive player who loves to attack the ball. His lack of over the top speed could be a concern.
Adonis Jennings, WR, Temple
Jennings started his college career at Pittsburgh before playing his last three seasons at Temple. He finished his career at Temple hauling in 39 receptions for 691 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2017. During his pro day, Jennings ran a 4.57 40-yard dash, 31 on the verticle jump, and 7.06 3-cone drill. This is just another player that will provide competition in the wide receiver room already full of unproven talent.
Chris Worley, LB, Ohio State
Worley will be another member of Ohio State joining his former teammates Billy Price and Sam Hubbard. Having experience at both inside and outside linebacker, Worley could find himself as a backup or special teams contributor. He finished his college career with153 tackles, one interception, and forced three fumbles. Look for him on special teams in 2018 if he makes the roster.
Gaelin Elmore, DL, ECU
Elmore is a player that switched from tight end to defensive line when he arrived with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Playing all over the defensive line he has the experience at both end and tackle. The 6’6”, 275-pound will likely play best as a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme at the NFL level. Graduating in 2017, Elmore played his final season with ECU. He’s yet to see considerable time on the field and will likely be a practice squad signing if he does stay with the team.
Jordan Franks, TE, UCF
After not addressing any tight ends during the draft, the Bengals seem to be showing some faith in both Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft for the near future. Following the draft, the Bengals signed UDFA Jordan Franks out of UCF. His production in college was small with a total of 43 passes for 509 yards and two touchdowns. Franks has experience in numerous positions including linebacker, defensive back, and wide receiver. Standing at 6’3″ and 232 pounds, Franks has yet to translate his good athleticism to the field.
Devonte Boyd, WR, UNLV
Boyd was a solid pass catcher in college that never reached his full potential due to injuries. Suffering a broken arm during the 2016 season, Boyd is a receiver that could become a solid depth guy for the Bengals. His freshman season he started out strong with 65 receptions for 980 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games. During his 2017 season, he saw his numbers drop not as much due to his injury but an offense that was, well, bad. He ended his final season with 34 catches for 612 yards and three touchdowns in 12 starts.
Quinton Flowers, QB, South Florida
So the Bengals passed on Lamar Jackson in the first round. Bummed out? Well, cheer up, because the Bengals signed the poor man’s version of Jackson in the UDFA cycle. Flowers is a complete dual-threat quarterback. He threw for over 8,000 yards, rushed for over 3,000 more, and totaled an incredible 112 TDs during his career at USF. Flowers lacks the height of the prototypical QB (5’10”). However, he has a good build and his ability to throw on the move compensates for his height. There would certainly be a massive transition to the NFL for Flowers, but he should compete with 7th round pick Logan Woodside for the backup QB spot.
Ray Lawry, RB, Old Dominion
Lawry comes into a crowded backfield in Cincinnati, but he may be able to contribute. At 5’9”, 205 pounds, Lawry has a thick, powerful build with good speed (4.51 40-yard dash). He used that frame effectively in college, putting up more than 4,000 rushing yards and 45 TDs in his time at Old Dominion. Clearly, ODU is not on the level of schools like Alabama and Ohio St., but these statistics are impressive nevertheless. Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard will be back in 2018, but Lawry could get some run if 4th round pick Mark Walton is still not fully healthy from knee surgery.
Cam Sims, WR, Alabama and Adonis Jennings, WR, Temple
I don’t anticipate both of these guys making the final roster given the depth at the position, but either of them could make an impact. Sims was rarely used at Alabama, but most Bama WRs don’t have a huge impact during their college career. He’s got a huge frame at 6’5”, 214 pounds, and ran a sub 4.6 40-yard dash. Jennings is not much different from Sims. Though he gives up 3 inches to Sims, Jennings makes up for it with superior college stats. He had 80 catches for 1,350 yards and 13 TDs at Temple. Both of these WRs should give 7th round pick Auden Tate a run for his money as the big-bodied threat on the roster.
Junior Joseph, ILB, Connecticut
Joseph probably won’t ever become an NFL starter, but he’s got the skill set and athleticism to give the Bengals some depth at a fairly unreliable position. Joseph has a good frame, even if he’s a bit short at 6 feet tall. He’s also strong (24 bench press reps) and explosive (10-foot broad jump). At UConn, Joseph was the core of the defense. He posted over 300 tackles during his time as a Huskie, along with four sacks. Vontaze Burfict, Vincent Rey, and Preston Brown will all be ahead of Joseph this year, but he could work his way up the depth chart as those ahead of him leave the team.
Ja’von Rolland-Jones, OLB, Arkansas St.
Rolland-Jones is another addition at a position of depth, but he should be an intriguing spot pass rusher. Rolland-Jones is big enough to fit in as a DE in the Bengals’ 4-3 system but fast enough to cause issues for opposing tackles. Against weaker competition at Arkansas St., he compiled 180 tackles and an impressive 42 sacks. He isn’t an asset on running downs, but his pass rushing prowess is clear. Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson, Jordan Willis, and Sam Hubbard are already ahead of Rolland-Jones. However, he only needs a few passing downs snaps to have an impact on the game as a blitzer.