Rookie minicamp a wrap
Marvin Lewis closed the three-day, five-practice rookie minicamp Sunday in positive terms.
Coaches now know even more than they did about the team’s 10 draft picks, and new defensive coaches – coordinator Mike Zimmer and linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald – had time on the field to work with actual players after four-months of scouting and office work.
“When you can get as much football in as we did, it helps the rookies coming back,” Lewis said Sunday afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium.
Most of the rookies, both draft picks and free agents, will be back to participate
May 20 in organized team activities (OTA) that will start May 13 for whole team.
Those activities are voluntary.
Lewis said that veteran running back Chris Perry (ankle, shin) and safety Ethan Kilmer (knee) – both of whom missed all of the 2007 season – “should be ready to go May 13” for on-field work.
Second-year running back Kenny Irons (knee) will not be available, Lewis said.
Asked what he took personally from the three days of work, Lewis said he often was left saying “wow.”
“But,” he added, “that’s why we drafted them.”
Lewis and his coaches had 15-minute interviews at the NFL scouting combine in February in Indianapolis with prospects. Some of the prospects visited Cincinnati. Coaches and scouts visited their campuses for pro day workouts.
“You don’t see if they can handle install,” Lewis said in reference to the process of learning plays and schemes.
“You also get to see them playing at the speed of football in 11-on-11 drills. That matters.”
In addition, Lewis and his coaches could see the functional strength of linemen they selected – such as offensive tackle Anthony Collins and defensive tackles Pat Sims and Jason Shjrley.
First-round draft pick Keith Rivers, the Southern Cal linebacker, worked on the weak-side position, where he had in college, and impressed coaches with his fluid play and work ethic.
Coaches were impressed, too, with Rivers’ natural leadership and ability to call his position players together.
“He showed things that are innate,” Lewis said of Rivers. “Every time he was not in a meeting he was upstairs watching tape on his own.
“He already gets it.”
Forty-six players participated in the minicamp.
In addition to the 10 draft picks, there were eight college free agents. The rest were either rookie or veteran players participating on a try-out basis.
The Bengals signed three of the try-out players from rookie minicamp: defensive tackle Antwon Burton signed a one-year deal; he is a third-year NFL player from Temple.
Rookie linebacker Dan Howell from Washington and rookie wide receiver Clyde Logan of Idaho State each signed two-year contracts with the Bengals following minicamp.
Beyond OTA practices on the field, starting May 13, the Bengals’ next major team event is the mandatory full-squad minicamp scheduled for June 12-14.