Bengals were the only team to send a scout to first CFB game of the year

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals were the only NFL team to send a scout to the first college football game of the 2020 season.

Central Arkansas and Austin Peay were the first two teams to square off in the 2020 college football season. While the game flew under-the-radar for most casual football fans, it certainly didn’t for the Bengals. Cincinnati’s scouting department was the only NFL team represented at the game.

The two universities are not known for providing the professional ranks with loads of talent, but as with any small school, there are prospects worth keeping an eye on. It’s safe to assume there was at least one player that intrigued the Bengals enough to warrant a closer look.

The scouting world has been thrown into a bit of chaos, given the obstacles created by the pandemic. Still, despite the hurdles, it appears that Duke Tobin and Co. are doing everything they can to ensure they’re prepared by the time the next draft rolls around.

Who could the Bengals have been keeping an eye on?

There are a number of players the Bengals could have been interested in watching up close. The one that sticks out the most, however, is cornerback Robert Rochell. The 6’2, 195-pound prospect has ideal size to play corner and last season, he certainly used his frame to his advantage.

His physical demeanor resulted in five interceptions last year alone. The year before that, the promising defensive back had four takeaways, speaking to his ball skills and knack for generating turnovers.

All of this is before getting to his speed. Rochell has a background in track and reportedly ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at an LSU camp, according to The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid.

The Bengals are no stranger to looking in lesser-known places to find talent for their secondary. The team nabbed Darius Phillips out of Western Michigan, signed Winston Rose from the CFL, and drafted plucked diamond in the rough LeShaun Sims off the open market as well. It’s possible Rochell could be the next.

Outside of Rochell, wide receiver DeAngelo Wilson is the next best bet to have earned Cincinnati’s attention. Despite his lack of size (5’9, 170-pounds), he has stuffed the stat sheet while at Austin Peay. In 2019, he racked up over 1,500 yards with 15 touchdowns to match. No matter a player’s stature, that’s enough to generate interest.

While all of the fan focus remains on the regular-season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers in two weeks, the scouting department continues to do the behind-the-scenes work to ensure the franchise is prepared for next offseason.

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