4-19-01, 11:05 p.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
It still seems to be an encore of "Anything Goes,'' with the Bengals and Saturday's 2001 NFL Draft.
Even though mock drafts from print to cable to cyberspace Thursday night have Texas left tackle Leonard Davis ticketed to Arizona with the second pick, the Bengals still have him in mind for the fourth pick. Along with another left tackle, a defensive end, two wide receivers, and even a quarterback.
And throw this into the mix. Embattled Bengals left tackle Rod Jones showed up at Paul Brown Stadium Thursday with about 30 fewer pounds. Jones checked in at a svelte 317, the best some club officials have seen him look since he was drafted in 1996.
But Jim Lippincott, the Bengals director of pro/college personnel, says only one thing is going to influence the Bengals' two picks in the first 36 choices.
"There's no question that in the first round we're going to get a very good player at any number of positions and we're going for the best player, period," Lippincott said. "The same thing in the second round. We're going to get another very good player and we line up from there."
But other teams are helping the Bengals narrow their choice. With Davis looking to be gone at No. 2, word out of Cleveland Thursday is that the Browns are poised to choose Michigan wide receiver David Terrell at No. 3.
Those are two guys the Bengals have studied for months, but there are others. Florida right tackle Kenyatta Walker, who would play left tackle, along with Missouri defensive end Justin Smith and North Carolina State wide receiver Koren Robinson are under the microscope. So is Purdue quarterback Drew Brees.
The Bengals have yet to be called with a trade offer, but that could change on Draft Day. If Terrell goes No. 3, some teams (Chicago, Kansas City?) may call the Bengals to get a shot at TCU running back LaDainian Tomlinson. It's doubtful he would slide past New England at No. 6.
MITCHELL TO STEELERS? Scott Mitchell, who quarterbacked the Bengals to a 2-2 finish, visited Pittsburgh Wednesday to see if there's a spot. But Thursday night, Mitchell said Cincinnati is still an option even though the Bengals have signed Jon Kitna (and given him Mitchell's locker) to compete with Akili Smith.
"I enjoyed meeting the people in Pittsburgh," Mitchell said. "I met with Coach (Bill) Cowher, the offensive coordinator, the quarterbacks coach. We'll see what happens. There are other options, too, and I haven't ruled out the Bengals."
SMITH UPDATE: Akili Smith's DUI trial is expected to go to the jury some time Friday with the defense yet to present its case. The sides spent Thursday questioning a police offer and a lab technician about Smith's Feb. 8 arrest in which he is alleged to have registered a blood alcohol level content between .13 and .15.