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Thread: Training Camp 2017 Thread

  1. #1

    Training Camp 2017 Thread

    Cincinnati Bengals

    Training camp report dates: rookies (July 25) and veterans (July 27).

    Location: Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

    Most important position battle: Jeremy Hill vs. Joe Mixon.
    Mixon has drawn rave reviews so far -- one staffer called the rookie "a beast" on offense -- so it's fair to ask how long this battle will last. With Giovani Bernard still recovering from a November ACL tear, it's likely the Bengals will use a combination of Mixon and Hill to open the campaign, but Cincinnati went into the offseason determined to find an upgrade over Hill, who is coming off an inconsistent 2016. Don't be surprised if the rookie flat-out steals the job by Labor Day.

    Newcomer to watch: WR John Ross:Like the Panthers in the NFC South, the Bengals used the draft to massively upgrade their speed on offense. Mixon gives the team a devastating runner who can double as a legitimate pass-catching asset, while Ross blew people away by breaking Chris Johnson's 40-yard dash record with a 4.22 at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine. Shoulder surgery could delay his participation for camp, but Ross promises to be a tantalizing element across from Pro Bowler A.J. Green.

    Looming camp question: Will the O-line mesh?
    Quarterback Andy Dalton was unmercifully banged around last season to the tune of 41 sacks. Only Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor took more (42), an ominous stat for a Bengals line that proceeded to lose reliable guard Kevin Zeitler and Pro Bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth in free agency. With disappointing 2015 first-rounder Cedric Ogbuehi slotted to take over the blind-side role and up-and-down Jake Fisher manning the right bookend, the Bengals have more questions than answers up front.

  2. #2


    Cincinnati Enquirer sports writers Paul Dehner Jr. and Jim Owczarski ask a series of questions leading up to Bengals training camp.

    Bengals' 5 camp questions: Who will fall out of favor on the DL

    Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Andrew Billings (75), center, breaks off his stance during Cincinnati Bengals rookie mini camp, Friday, May 6, 2016, on the practice fields adjacent to Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
    Kareem Elgazzar

    Paul Dehner Jr. |
    Updated 03:33 pm EDT Jul. 21, 2017 Originally published 03:33 pm EDT Jul. 21, 2017
    This is the second of a five-part series discussing the five most pressing questions the team must answer during training camp this season. Camp kicks off at the practice fields adjacent Paul Brown Stadium on July 28.

    • Thursday: Cedric Ogbuehi?
    • Today: Who falls out of favor on the defensive line?
    • Saturday: Will John Ross and Joe Mixon supplant a starter?
    • Sunday: When will Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard play?
    • Monday: Who wins the kicking competition?

    Over the course of the last 10 years, the Bengals made a habit of hitting home runs in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft on their defensive line. In fact, the Bengals have yet to select a defensive lineman in the first round.
    Yet, Carlos Dunlap (second), Geno Atkins (fourth), Domata Peko (fourth) and Michael Johnson (third) kept breaking on the scene to establish the group as one of the best in football. In recent years, however, the next wave of defensive linemen have failed to make the same type of impact.
    Some come for lack of snaps, others minimal production and a few saw injuries keep them on the shelf.
    Eventually, the bill comes due on every pick and more checks than ever are sitting on the table this year as the Bengals desperately seek depth, particularly in the pass rush.
    The most defensive linemen the Bengals ever kept was 10 in 2015 and we could potentially see that number again – which doesn’t count fourth-round pick Carl Lawson, who lists at linebacker but will play some on the line. Even at 10, that leaves a group of players who were previously in the Bengals plans, without a roster spot or consistently inactive on Sundays.
    Really, beyond Dunlap, Atkins and Johnson, little do we know for sure about how this rotation and cut line will break down, other than it will be crowded.
    Veteran Pat Sims and 2015 fourth-round pick Andrew Billings expect to compete for the snaps vacated by Peko, now with the Denver Broncos. The team waits to see if Billings can regain the power that made them intrigued by him prior to his knee injury last preseason. If he can, the door opens for him to potentially land as the starter next to Atkins.
    Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Marcus Hardison looks to be a disruptive force against Detroit.
    Kareem Elgazzar

    An oft-forgotten player in the mix for snaps in the middle is 2014 fourth-round pick Marcus Hardison. The Arizona State product put together back-to-back quality preseasons only to see both derailed by injury. He went on IR last year after a shoulder injury in the final preseason game. He’s yet to be active for an NFL game. A third productive preseason and finally staying healthy could place him into the mix of contributors, but another injury would leave the Bengals wondering if they could ever count on him.
    Elsewhere on the inside, Brandon Thompson continues to hang around after missing all of last year recovering from the ACL he tore near the end of the 2015 season. It’s now or never for him to show he can still make an impact or he could be left out.
    The same can be said for DeShawn Williams, who's shown potential in two seasons and even spent four games on the active roster last year. But potential in undrafted free agents only goes so far and rarely goes into a third season. He needs to produce now or else the end of his run here is near.
    Continue reading below

    All of these players and that doesn’t mention the roster spot that will be taken by rookie fourth-rounder Ryan Glasgow (Michigan).
    Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Will Clarke (93) lines up during the Week 17 NFL game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
    Kareem Elgazzar

    A competition heats up on the edges, particularly for the spot sharing snaps with Johnson on the edge. Rookie Jordan Willis could be in the mix, along with Lawson in some situations. But Will Clarke now enters the fourth and final year of his rookie contract. He’s in jeopardy of following the path of Margus Hunt out of town. Clarke showed promise early last season with three sacks in the first four games, but he wouldn’t reach the quarterback again until Week 16.
    The Bengals brought in Chris Smith, an underused but productive defensive end from Jacksonville. He’ll compete to prove a change of scenery can turn him into a regular in this league.
    Plus, Wallace Gilberry is still hanging around looking to show he still has something in the tank at age 32.
    Of all these mentioned, we’ll likely see at least two cut and at least two more regularly inactive on gameday. The time is ticking on almost all of them. Who sees time run out depends on what transpires over the next six weeks.

    Paul Dehner Jr.
    Bengals Columnist
    Cincinnati Enquirer

    "From the field to front office and well outside the walls of Paul Brown Stadium, I bring to life the news and personalities defining the Bengals."


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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Bengals1181 View Post
    Of all these mentioned, we’ll likely see at least two cut and at least two more regularly inactive on gameday. IMG]
    For starters, cut Wallace Gilberry and Michael Johnson. I have strong doubts either player could find much playing time on any roster but Cincy's.

  4. #4
    Camp Carl: pedigree and poise

    Posted Jul 24, 2017

    Bengals rookie linebacker Carl Lawson is descended from Olympic-caliber athletes in weightlifting and track as well as a national title. As an eighth-grader he spent a summer working out with Takeo Spikes and NFL friends and grew up to wear his number at Auburn. He brings plenty of pedigree and poise when Bengals training camp opens this week.

    Carl Lawson, in his 2014 Lexus, doesn't need a new car.
    A few years back, one of the Georgia Gang that let the junior high kid work out with them during one of Atlanta’s searing summers when they got ready for their NFL seasons wanted to let his guys know that Carl was doing just fine playing for Milton High School in nearby Alpharetta.
    It might have been Hines Ward or Jamal Lewis or Wayne Gandy or Osi Umenyiora. Takeo Spikes is still smiling about it.

    Carl? Who’s Carl?
    Carl. You know. “Sweat Pants.”
    Oh yeah. “Sweat Pants.”
    Spikes may have lost track of Carl Lawson Jr., when he went to high school, but now that Lawson has gone on to Auburn to wear Spikes’ No. 55 and then trade it in for a new number on a Bengals jersey in the draft just like Spikes 19 years ago this week, he’s more than caught up.
    Like when Lawson pulled Spikes aside before the Tigers’ opener last season and told him, ‘Watch me,’ and he went out and dominated.
    “He’s a junkie,” Spikes says. “You know when coaches get up and read the rules sheet? The dos and the don’ts? You don’t have to do that with Carl. He’s so worried about football. ‘Talk to me about something that matters.’ All that other stuff doesn’t matter. That’s the type of junkie that he is.”
    When the Bengals open training camp in a 3 p.m. Friday workout on the practice fields adjacent to Paul Brown Stadium, they won’t be calling the 6-2, 260-pound Lawson, “Sweat Pants.” During this camp Bengaldom may very well end up calling him, “The Next Best Thing,” because as fast as John Ross runs and as big and nifty as Joe Mixon handles the ball, it was Lawson that quickly established the rookie buzz of the spring camps with his jolting pass rush off the edge.
    If you’re looking for pedigree and poise, Lawson is your guy. They’re calling him a linebacker and trying him at SAM, but he’s a pass rusher all the way.
    Chuck Smith, the Atlanta-based pass rush guru who hosted Lawson for a few sessions among his elite group this offseason, spent the draft season walking through Bengals coaches like head man Marvin Lewis and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther on the plusses of drafting Lawson. It was an easy sell since the personnel department had him staked out for a couple of years.
    “He’s going to be a special player. He’s an absolute monster. They were lucky to get him,” says Smith, far from surprised when the Bengals took Lawson in the fourth round. “It’s a credit to Marvin and those guys. The Bengals are as well prepared as anyone (in the draft).
    Spikes? Lawson was worthy of No. 55, he says, so what else can the man say?
    “He’ll be a great addition to what Marvin is doing there,” says Spikes, looking at Lawson as a mentor as well as a Sirius NFL Radio analyst. “I truly believe he’ll bring in a better pass rush for those guys. He’ll be able to help Carlos Dunlap. I really love the fit. I know how Marvin can push certain people’s buttons. It doesn’t take much.”

    Lawson's athleticism and strength dominated the NFL scouting combine.
    He may have had “Sweat Pants,’ work ethic early on, but the talent and fitness is in his genes. His grandfather Dudley nearly became Mr. Universe after he won a bronze medal as a middle heavyweight powerlifter for Jamaica in the 1966 Commonwealth Games. His grand uncle Carl Lawson sprinted for the emerging Jamaican powerhouse at the dawn of the ‘70s, and helped the four-by-100 relay team win Commonwealth gold in the 1970 games.
    And his father won a national title as a Georgia Tech fullback/running back. They bubbled together to produce nine sacks this past season and then an NFL scouting combine-best 35 reps of 225 pounds and shuttle time that led all defensive linemen at Indy.
    “He’s better than the guys that went in front of him,” Chuck Smith says.
    Carl Lawson Sr., became a trainer and crossed paths early in Spikes’ NFL career. Junior was just out of eighth grade when he hooked up with the gang and trainer Tony Villani. And while he was a go-fer for everyone, young Carl also finished every workout they did.

    Spikes, who never taps out on anything, would think about it when they ran the stadium steps. In that Georgia furnace how could you not think about stopping? And the kid would run the steps right with them.

    In sweat pants.

    “He was focused. He was like a dry sponge. He saw greatness in us and tried to absorb everything out of us,” Spikes says. “After we worked out he’d ask, ‘Why?’ I was thinking to myself, ‘Why? You might want to ask why before we did it.’ It just goes to show he didn’t care. ‘Whatever it takes for me to be great, that’s what I’m going to do.’”

    Carl Lawson Sr., a gifted soccer player who knew football, in part, through Herschel Walker’s New Jersey Generals after he moved to Brooklyn from Jamaica about the age his son was confounding the pros, knew he’d eventually figure it out, too.

    “He didn’t know what to expect. A 12-year-old kid going outside to work out, he had no idea what the heat is like. He’s going out there in his sweat pants because he felt more comfortable,” Lawson Sr. says. “Eventually he would take his shirt off.”

    About ten summers later the Atlanta humidity still grips and drips, but Lawson Jr., has on shorts because they’re free. And the Tony Villani academy shorts qualify. But maybe not the Yankees hat.
    “Everything I’m wearing is free,” Junior says in a John’s Creek smoothie shop. “I just like the hat. It’s a Yankees hat, right? People are big on that. I just like the hat. It looks cool on me. I don’t know. I can’t remember. I might have bought it … I’m not a big brand person. If it looks good on me, I’ll wear it … As athletes, we get a bunch of free stuff … Why am I going to go buy something?”
    Lawson is just coming from a pass-rushing session with Smith and is headed across town to a deep massage. He’ll pass on a smoothie. If he’s not paying for anything that makes him better in football, he’ll usually hold off.
    “Food. I’ll (spend for) food,” he says and when asked his favorite dish he says, ‘Get back to me when I’ve got a death sentence (for a last meal).”

    Lawson, known mainly as a defensive end at Auburn, is working on his drops at NFL linebacker.
    Cars? The 2014 Lexus he bought after he was drafted is nice, but he vows never to buy a new car. “Waste of money,” he says. “Depreciates as soon as you take it off the lot. You can still find a nice car.” With just 29,000 miles, it is. He needed one because the car his mother gave him to use at school, a Buick from the turn of the century (“a ’98, maybe a 2000”) began to break down.
    “For the draft we got two free suits, so I don’t have to buy a suit anytime soon,” Lawson says. “My money is mainly going to things that make me a better football player.”
    All of which is no surprise to Lawson Senior. His son has always been in to it. Even when he’d walk out of the living room and turn down the hallway to go to his bedroom, he’d flip his hips and work his hands. Then around 1 a.m. they might hear him in his room watching film because one of his idols, Peyton Manning, always watched film. And he was watching the same guys, pass rushers like Michael Strahan and Derrick Thomas.
    “I haven’t seen anybody touch his work ethic,” says Carl Sr., who makes a living out of doing it and coaching it. “It almost borders on obsession. We try to keep him grounded and he convinces us this is what makes him happy. Practicing and playing the game makes him happy. Watching film makes him happy. He loves it.”
    All Junior had to do was watch Senior, a self-made player in the ‘80s. When Senior moved to Brooklyn from Jamaica when he was about ten, no one from New York City ever went big time in football. They still don’t, particularly a transplanted soccer and track enthusiast living in East Flatbush who found himself at Samuel J. Tilden High School.
    “I was in love with football, but the rest of my classmates and teammates weren’t as in love with football as I was,” Lawson says. “I didn’t have what the kids in Ohio and Georgia have, which would be football I.Q. My football I.Q., was low, my athletic ability was high.”
    You could say elite speed and strength. Watching Walker and college running backs like Marcus Dupree got him outside and when he began to break away from everyone else running with the ball in his hands, he wondered if he could do it on the field. When he went to Long Island to play at Nassau Community College, he caught the eye of Georgia Tech defensive coordinator George O’Leary, a charismatic, hard-bitten Long Islander raiding the Northeast for new Tech head coach Bobby Ross, an Eastern transplant himself from Maryland.
    “Being in Atlanta, it didn’t have to be much of a sell,” Lawson says. “I had committed to Penn State. Maryland also recruited me and I liked Maryland’s offense …”
    When Lawson got to Atlanta he saw things he had never seen before. Like zone defenses and playbooks. Those things would become like air and water for his son. Junior got the I.Q., but Senior got the 1990 national title.
    “I thought Carl was going to get one, too,” Lawson says of that loss freshman year in the national title game. “I still have bragging rights in the house.”
    But, as usual, the kid is coming after him. Their pitched battles are already the stuff of Bengals lore. There was the time Senior tore his ACL trying to block Junior on a back-yard pass rush and Junior handing out Senior’s number this spring so the media could ask him about it. There was also the time Senior broke his foot on Junior’s knee when they were kickboxing.
    “We had to get civilized in the house. Napkins and forks optional,” says Senior with a laugh. “Football all day, ESPN, always some kind of game. Plus, all the homework he had and going to school.”
    The competitiveness bull-rushed into Senior’s lifting and performance records at Georgia Tech. Junior vowed to break his marks, but he came up shy with 455 pounds on one bench press lift. Senior holds the Tech record for backs with 460.

    Like Takeo Spikes, Lawson wore No. 55 at Auburn. Like Spikes, he's got a different number in Cincy. Spikes had No. 51, Lawson has No. 58.
    “But I did that at 22 years old. He had just turned 16,” Senior says. “And he reached a point where he was lifting for football and not just for lifting."
    Still, Junior romped to Georgia state high school powerlifting titles as a junior and senior. How easy was it? He was so far ahead he didn’t have to go for personal bests. One year all he needed was a 300-pound bench to clinch the championship. He also squatted 515 pounds and cleaned 325 and there was nobody within 50 pounds of him.
    “My dad really helped me as I got older teaching me how to work more efficiently,” Junior says. You don’t need all those heavy muscles nowadays. A big part of football is movement. You need power, but you need small muscles, too.”
    The only thing that kept him from going in the first round like Spikes was the injuries. An ACL tear wiped out one season and a hip injury wiped out half of another, which is why he had just 20 starts.
    “If he stays healthy….” Spikes says.
    That’s why all the money is going into his body and not a new Lexus.
    “I feel like, honestly, if I have the ability to stay healthy the sky’s the limit for me,’ Lawson says. “When you think about it last year was my first real year of football. If I’m able to take care of my body, I know I’ll have success.”
    Spikes can’t wait to get back to Cincinnati to watch him.
    “When I wore 55 my motto was that’s the speed limit. Nobody goes faster than me,” Spikes says. “If he just keeps going forward, he’s going to be fine.”
    Welcome to Camp Carl.

  5. #5
    Slants-screens: Gio, Eifert look good to go; All in on Ced; Kids let Paulie mix it up; K-ball crowd

    Posted 13 hours ago
    Geoff HobsonEditorBengals.comFollow Me Blog

    Giovani Bernard has had a rehab as rapid as his moves.
    All indications are running back Giovani Bernard (ACL) and tight end Tyler Eifert (back) could be available when training camp opens Friday (3 p.m. on the practice fields) and won’t have to start the summer on any restricted lists. But the Bengals are probably going to bring them along slowly in the wake of their off-season surgeries.
    It’s good news because the minute they take a snap in training camp they’ll lose their eligibility to start the season on the physically unable to perform list (PUP). It’s been a brilliant performance by Bernard, who went down late in the Nov. 20 loss to Baltimore.
    Rookie wide receiver John Ross, taken in the first-round after his shoulder surgery, isn’t expected to make his Bengals practice debut for a couple of weeks.
    But there won’t be an official word until probably Thursday. Rookies and injured players reported Tuesday with everyone else slated to report Thursday for the conditioning test.
    COORDINATED CALLS: Head coach Marvin Lewis’ coordinators checked in at Tuesday’s media luncheon at Paul Brown Stadium and:
    _Despite two new starters joining left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi on the offensive line, offensivecoordinator Ken Zampese is adamant Ogbuehi is going to bounce back from last season’s benching at right tackle. And he’ll adjust.
    “I have full confidence that he’s going to be a fabulous player for us,” Zampese said. “It’s no different than a new guy at wide receiver or a new guy at another position. You find out what his skill set is so you can put in your game plan to keep it in his wheel house. No different than any other player.”
    Zampese is banking on the 23 years of experience Paul Alexander has coaching the Bengals offensive line.

    All eyes on Cedric Ogbuehi. Ken Zampese likes what he sees.
    “The guy that coaches that group, Paul Alexander, is a great communicator. Just his ability to get guys at an early age and have them perform to and above what their expectations are is good,” Zampese said. “Now, we have time on task with (Ogbuehi). It was a little slow because he had the injury (torn ACL) when he got here. We got him in the rotation. He sees how things happen; now he’s got a chance to do it from scratch again. Those things give me confidence. He’s physically able to do it and we have a coaching staff that’s able to get him to do it. Now we just need time to do it.”
    With Bernard taking time to round into form while second-rounder Joe Mixon learns the playbook, Zampese isn’t going to crown Jeremy Hill king just yet. He says look for all three in some form.
    “That will work itself out by the time we get there. I’m not even worried about that,” Zampese said. “We have plenty of time to find out what each guy is going to be in pads and where they’re at when we get there. I’m sure it will be a mix of all guys because they’re all worthy.
    “I’m not going to hamstring any of those guys on time or this or that because a lot of different things happen. A lot of surprises happen. Gio’s already to go, maybe Joe’s got it right from the get go, we don’t know yet. We haven’t put pads on yet. We’ll get all those things answered as we go. I’m really excited to see what the answers to those questions are.”
    This is that rare time of the year when the coaches sound like fans in their anticipation of the pads coming on, which figures to happen for the first time Monday (3 p.m. on the practice fields).
    _With more versatile players at his fingertips, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is envisioning a camp using more players and more packages.
    “When you have more guys that can do things it ends up in more personnel groups,” Guenther said. “You don’t want to do too much and overdo it. It’s got to be some of the same stuff already.”
    Rookies Carl Lawson (end/SAM backer) and Jordan Willis (left/right end), along with sophomore Nick Vigil (MIKE/WILL backer) give Guenther the ability to put them with veterans Josh Shaw(corner/safety), Kevin Minter (MIKE/WIll) and Wallace Gilberry (end/tackle). And let’s see if WILL backer Vontaze Burfict gets some snaps at MIKE.

    Jake Elliott is one of three kickers in a camp first for Marvin Lewis and Darrin Simmons.
    _ Special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons has carefully crafted this training camp plan like no other. For the first time in his 15 seasons he’s not only got a real live kicking competition, he’s got three of them in incumbent Randy Bullock, fifth-rounder Jake Elliott, and free-agent soccer transplant Johnathan Brown.
    And as carefully as he’s put it together he knows it will change. He has to rotate them because they can’t kick every day. But he knows he’ll have more field goal attempts than ever before in a camp. And he figures one of them will have to go before the other two and that’s the pair that battles until the final cut on Sept. 2.
    “We’ve got to expose them to as many situations as we can to make an honest and accurate evaluation,” Simmons said. “It’s not an easy thing to do. With one kicker in camp it was more like conservation. Not overdo it. Now it’s almost flipped. We have to see three legs.”
    Making it even more intriguing is the numbers that came out of the spring. Each had about 90 or so kicks and there were only four makes separating them.
    “Three good candidates,” Simmons said.

  6. #6
    What a crazy story it'd be if Jonathan Brown won the PK job. Never has kicked a FG in any game before.

    I expect and hope Elliott wins. He seems to have good temperament. Bullock doesn't, to me. He reminds me of Neil Shankers.

  7. #7
    Can't believe how many other teams are already in camp and working and Bengals don't report until tomorrow.

  8. #8
    Per the Carl Lawson article...prior to the draft I made many of the same claims myself. In particular how his history of injury would prevent him from being selected as early as his talent level would suggest. That said, I never dreamed he'd slip to the 4th round and as some may recall I often mocked Lawson or OG Dan Feeney to the Bengals in the 2nd round. I would have been thrilled with either player at that spot so you can imagine how I feel about getting Lawson so late. Normally when you select a pass rusher after the 2nd round you have to settle for an undersized or stiff hipped player (Will Clarke) who lacks explosion. Lawson, a 5-star recruit in HS, is better than that and IMO wouldn't have been available had it not been for his history of injuries.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by HOF View Post
    Per the Carl Lawson article...prior to the draft I made many of the same claims myself. In particular how his history of injury would prevent him from being selected as early as his talent level would suggest. That said, I never dreamed he'd slip to the 4th round and as some may recall I often mocked Lawson or OG Dan Feeney to the Bengals in the 2nd round. I would have been thrilled with either player at that spot so you can imagine how I feel about getting Lawson so late. Normally when you select a pass rusher after the 2nd round you have to settle for an undersized or stiff hipped player (Will Clarke) who lacks explosion. Lawson, a 5-star recruit in HS, is better than that and IMO wouldn't have been available had it not been for his history of injuries.
    Several folks on here really liked Lawson and it really wasn't until his senior year at Auburn that he was able to show what he could do. Given his injury history - which was pretty significant, he had a lot to prove and I'm happy he was able to do that. What impresses me most about him is that he's explosive at the snap but he can convert to power quickly. I know he's ticketed to play some LB but he's stout enough to play outside as a DE and do some damage. It sounds like Paulie is gonna do a lot of packages/situational stuff - more than in past years - and Lawson can be a Swiss Army Knife-kinda guy for them.

    I'm excited about this rookie class and he's one that I think will get to play a lot earlier than a lot of the other guys.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by texbengal View Post
    What a crazy story it'd be if Jonathan Brown won the PK job. Never has kicked a FG in any game before.

    I expect and hope Elliott wins. He seems to have good temperament. Bullock doesn't, to me. He reminds me of Neil Shankers.
    I'd give Elliot the edge based upon his ability to directionally kick off. I remember reading a pre draft interview with Simmons where he admitted that quality was just as important as success when FG kicking so I wasn't that surprised when the Bengals passed on Zane Gonzalez, the #1 ranked kicker on most pre draft boards. Gonzalez had almost no experience directionally kicking from a tee...reason enough to pass on him.

    As for Bullock and Brown, Simmons got a long look at both and still felt compelled to draft a rookie. That's kind of damning in my mind.


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