Cincinnati Bengals: Top 10 Prospects

Andre Smith (AP/Tony Tribble)

Scout.com's Chris Steuber continues the top 10 prospects series and profiles the Cincinnati Bengals. In this series, an NFL prospect is classified as a player entering their third year in the NFL or under 25 years of age. Find out who the Bengals top 10 prospects are entering the 2010 season.

Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
OT
6-4
335
2
23

The Cincinnati Bengals top selection in the 2009 NFL Draft; Andre Smith has the potential to be one of the premier offensive tackles in the league. But, Smith’s ability to achieve greatness in the NFL starts with his commitment to stay in shape and his desire to be great. Those questions surrounded Smith leading up to the draft, but his talent prevailed and ultimately allowed him to be the sixth overall pick. After a lengthy holdout, in which he missed all of training camp and three preseason games, Smith finally signed on the dotted line with the Bengals. A few days after signing, Smith suffered a fracture in his left foot that kept him out most of the season. He ended up playing in six games and started one of them at right tackle. Entering his second year, and with there being no holdups off the field, Smith is expected to be the Bengals starting right tackle this season.

Drafted by Cincinnati in the 1st Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
TE
6-5
261
R
21

Even though Jermaine Gresham missed the entire 2009 season with a knee injury, what he brings to the Bengals offense is a big play, pass catching threat that can stretch the field. That is a component Cincinnati has been missing for years. During the 2008 season, Gresham hauled in 66 passes for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns; those numbers would do wonders for the Bengals passing game. Gresham had a standout offseason and showed scouts that his knee is 100-percent. If all goes well this preseason, Gresham will be the starter.

Drafted by Cincinnati in the 1st Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
LB
6-2
255
2
23

It was a surprise when Rey Maualuga fell to the second round of the 2009 draft, but there were concerns about him not being an every down linebacker and some off the field issues that came to light this offseason. In his first year in the NFL, Maualuga played and started in 15 games and recorded 63 tackles and a sack. He missed the final game of the season after he suffered a broken ankle against the Kansas City Chiefs during Week 16. This offseason, Maualuga was involved in a car accident where he was charged with drunk driving, and after being found guilty, he entered a rehab program. Since the accident in January, Maualuga has been sober, and with a new lease on life, he could have a breakout year.

Drafted by Cincinnati in the 2nd Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
LB
6-2
240
3
24

The ninth overall pick in the 2008 draft, Keith Rivers has been hampered with injuries and hasn't fully lived up to his potential, as he enters his third year in the NFL. Rivers has missed 10 games in his career, but has started all 22 that he's participated in. The Bengals are hoping that Rivers will have an injury-free 2010 season, because when he's in the lineup, he has game changing ability. As a starter in 13 games last year, Rivers had 72 tackles, a sack and an interception.

Drafted by Cincinnati in the 1st Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
DE
6-7
260
2
23

Michael Johnson has tremendous upside and the ability to develop into a premier pass rusher. He certainly has the physique and the natural talent, but his consistency and motor have been questioned, and that's the reason why he fell to the third round in '09. But, as a situational defender last year, Johnson had an intriguing rookie campaign. He played in all 16 games and recorded 17 tackles and three sacks. Johnson's athleticism gives the Bengals some flexibility moving forward, and it appears that they're using it to their benefit, as they're flirting with the idea of dropping him back to linebacker this season.

Drafted by Cincinnati in the 3rd Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
RB
5-10
200
2
26

When given the opportunity to play last year, Bernard Scott displayed his ability and flashed featured back potential. The Bengals sixth round pick in 2009, Scott played well in a backup role, and even received two starts in place of the injured Cedric Benson. He finished his rookie campaign with 74 carries for 321 yards. He also starred as Cincy's kick returner last season and reached paydirt on a 96-yard scamper against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Once again, Scott will backup Benson and will be counted on as the team's kick returner this year.

Drafted by Cincinnati in the 6th Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
WR
6-0
200
3
25

After being the Bengals third round pick in 2008, Andre Caldwell played in seven games, starting four of them, and contributed 11 catches for 78 yards. But, in his second year, Caldwell was utilized even more and turned into a valuable weapon on offense. Primarily playing in the slot, Caldwell caught 51 passes for 432 yards and three touchdowns. He will battle 2010 third rounder Jordan Shipley this preseason for the No. 3 wide receiver job and figures to have the upper hand.

Drafted by Cincinnati in the 3rd Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
DE
6-6
277
R
21

When it comes to taking chances on talented, troubled players, the Bengals are never shy about their desire to pick the best player available. Carlos Dunlap was considered a top 15 talent entering the 2010 draft, but he also lacked the intangibles NFL teams covet. He was a productive player for Florida over the last two years and amassed 18.5 sacks during that period. But, he's also been labeled as an immature individual who still has to grow up. If he can ever put it together and play down after down consistently, Dunlap could become a top 5 DE in the league.

Drafted by Cincinnati in the 2nd Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
WR
5-11
193
R
24

Colt McCoy's go-to-guy at Texas and the Bengals third round pick in this year's draft, Jordan Shipley could eventually turn into a reliable receiver for Carson Palmer. Over the last two years, Shipley produced some impressive numbers for the Longhorns, totaling 205 receptions for 2,545 yards and 24 touchdowns. Not the biggest or fastest receiver, Shipley will be in the mix to become the third or fourth receiver on Cincinnati's depth chart.

Drafted by Cincinnati in the 3rd Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
DT
6-2
325
3
24

A big, physical presence on the interior of the defensive line, Pat Sims has been a consistent force for the Bengals since being drafted in the third round of the '08 draft, but they would like to see even more out of the former Auburn standout. Sims played in all 16 games last year, starting eight of them, and finished with 34 tackles and half a sack. However, in the Bengals season finale against the New York Jets, Sims suffered a broken forearm and was placed on IR. He's expected to be ready for training camp and will compete to be a starter.

Drafted by Cincinnati in the 3rd Round (2008).


For more on the Bengals, check out Bengals Insider.


A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: csteuber@scout.com. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.

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