Now that the Cincinnati Bengals have made eight selections in the recent NFL Draft, the coaching staff has turned its attention to signing undrafted free agents as soon as the current lockout is lifted.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis doesn’t shy away from using these players in prominent positions. In fact, maybe a half dozen from the past couple years could be opening-day starters for the Bengals. For example, third-year wideout Quan Cosby from Texas and former wideout Glenn Holt from Kentucky. Holt has the second-most kickoff-return yardage in franchise history.
It appears that the college free-agent period will be quick, maybe 24 hours or so, because teams must move quickly onto veteran free-agent signings. Still, the Bengals likely will bring in 10-12 undrafted college players.
This coming season, the Bengals are expected to have a handful of former undrafted free agents in starting spots. Nate Livings (2006) from LSU has started 31 games at left guard the past three seasons, while Cosby (2009) is the top punt returner and backup wideout.
Linebacker Dan Skuta (2009) from Grand Valley State should start on the strong side after leading the Bengals in special teams tackles last year. Second-year safety Jeromy Miles from Massachusetts came off the practice squad for final six games last season with five special teams tackles as a gunner on the punt-coverage unit that led the NFL last season.
Late-round draft picks also are in the running with the fullback spot up for grabs between seventh-round selection Fui Vakapuna from Brigham Young and undrafted free agent Chris Pressley from Wisconsin in 2009.
That’s why the Bengals can’t wait for the college free-agent period this year.