With the Bengals trade of
And with veteran backup WILL linebacker
But no doubt they'll be looking for a guy that can back up starting WILL Thomas Howard in the draft, which just got bigger. With the fifth-rounder the Bengals got from New England in the Chad Ochocinco deal, plus their own, the Bengals now have eight picks in the first five rounds.
Plus, head coach Marvin Lewis says the club could still consider re-signing Johnson.
Apparently both the Bengals and the Giants were waiitng on a final bit of paperwork Wednesday afternoon and the deal was not done at the close of business. If it goes through as everyone expects, Cincinnati is going to be busy late in the fifth round with its own pick at 156, New England's at 166 and the Giants' at 167.
Special teams leader
Rivers, the ninth pick in the 2008 draft after earning some first-team All-American mentions at USC, has had an NFL career consumed by injury. He famously missed the last nine games of his rookie season when Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward broke his jaw on a controversial blindside block, and he missed all last season after offseason wrist surgery.
When he played full-time in '09 and '10, Rivers basically split snaps with Brandon Johnson as Johnson became a third-down stalwart. Johnson played 563 snaps in '09 and 507 in '10 while Rivers went 480 and 512, respectively, according to profootballfocus.com. During that stretch Rivers had 196 tackles, two sacks, one interception and six passes defensed with no forced fumbles or recoveries while Johnson had 124 tackles, two sacks, one interception, six passes defensed, and a fumble recovery.
Last season Howard, a Raiders free agent, filled in with a big season at WILL in which he played all three downs with 1,001 snaps and led the team with 120 tackles along with a sack, four passes defensed and two forced fumbles.
Linebacker isn't the only place where the youth is bubbling. With turnover at guard, safety, running back and potentially wide receiver, the Bengals are continuing to turn to the fountain that gave them four Pro Bowlers 24 and younger last season.
"We have to put our guys .. .the Otis Hudsons, (Robert) Sands, (Taylor) Mays, (Jeromy) Miles, those guys, in the mix to play," head coach Marvin Lewis said Wednesday when talking about his roster in general. "And we're doing that.
If there is one glaring hole heading into the April 26-28 draft, it is the No. 2 receiver slot opposite
"We feel better about that than people know," Lewis said. "We feel with Vidal, Armon, Tate, they're three guys that all have an opportunity to go over there and play if we don't sign Jerome. We feel good where we are. It's part of the National Football League to develop young players. We have to credit the coaches here with continuing to do that."