Quick hits: Minter likes Bengals' win-now edge; 5 more picks sign; Mixon gets Premiere invite

Posted May 15, 2017

-True to form, Kevin Minter, the Bengals new middle linebacker who started the last three seasons for the Cardinals, has stayed under the radar in the off-season workouts. He quietly slid into Vontaze Burfict’s old locker, but is still next to him with Burfict taking the closest locker to the door that, at times, has been reserved for veteran linebacker leader types like Takeo Spikes and Brian Simmons.

Minter knows a contender when he sees one and he likes what he sees so far.

“These guys are good guys. They’re real focused. This team could do some special things this year,” Minter said Monday. “If we keep this edge.  A lot of the guys have chips on their shoulders. They want to win this year. I’m excited about it.” …

-On Monday the Bengals signed five draft picks to give them seven of their 11 in the fold: Michigan defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow, Memphis kicker Jake Elliott, Oklahoma linebacker Jordan Evans, Houston safety Brandon Wilson, and Buffalo tight end Mason Schreck.

 The four left unsigned are Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, Kansas State defensive Jordan Willis, Tennessee wide receiver Josh Malone, and Utah center J.J. Dielman …

-Second-year defensive tackle Andrew Billings, projected as the starter next to Geno Atkins, missed all last season with a knee injury in training camp. But he says he’s 100 percent and the Baylor Strongman says he’s squatting 600 pounds, which is only 25 pounds fewer than normal. At 337 pounds won’t take much to get down to his playing weight of 325-330 …

-The NFL banned Bengals rookie running back Joe Mixon from the scouting combine for an off-field incident from three years ago. But he has been invited to this week’s 23rd annual NFL Players Association Rookie Premiere to learn the business of football with a handful of other draft picks that includes Bengals first-rounder John Ross. It’s the first time they’ll wear their Nike team uniforms during a photo shoot at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with the NFLPA’s exclusive trading card licensee, Panini America.

Bengals right tackle Eric Winston, the NFLPA president who believes Mixon should have been invited to the combine, says the list of rookies doesn’t come from the league or union but from the trading card companies. But Winston is glad Mixon got the call.

“It’s a little bit of indoctrination into the business of football,” Winston said. “It shows a lot of people think he’s got a chance at being a good player this year and we need him to be a good player this year.” …


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