Updated: 12:15 p.m.
With the second day of the draft cranking up, the Bengals figured to be eying the defensive tackle they couldn't get in the first round and passed in the second round and did opt for Auburn junior Pat Sims.
The 6-2, 310-pound Sims has the size that made the Bengals slightly wary of Sedrick Ellis in the first round and really wary of Trevor Laws in the second, and put him on top of their board when Sunday began with the third round.
The 6-2, 310-pound Sims only started for a season and finished his career with 8.5 tackles and 3.5 sacks, but he's going to push for starting job with a combination of quickness and toughness that made the Bengals give him a higher grade than Laws.
Defensive line coach Jay Hayes was hooked when he saw Sims play against Mississippi State with a cast on his hand to protect a broken finger. Sims said the cast stayed on for seven games, a rather amazing feat when Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham said he never saw Sims have a bad placement with hands he says are extremely big and strong.
"I thought he had good quickness, pad level, escape ability, good pass rush ability and toughness," Hayes said of the Mississippi State game. "You want a guy who can do those things and be able to go out and play and be effective.
" For a player to be able to do that at the collegiate level where you get players who might say, 'I'm not going to play today,' I thought that said a lot," Hayes said. "That is something he will have to do in his career here to be an effective player in this league."
Snippets of a conversation between Hayes and Lapham reflect why the Bengals opted for Sims over Laws.
"I had him rated higher than Laws," Lapham said. "I was looking for (Auburn linebacker) Quentin Groves and I ended up saying, 'Who is this guy?' He's got a bad body, but he plays hard, just moves people and he's got great hands."
"Yeah, his hands are what jumped out at me," Hayes said. 'We thought Trevor would go between the second and third rounds and he's a good player. But Pat stayed on his feet. I think Trevor was on the ground more because of his wrestling background.
"What they say about Pat is that no matter what, he plays hard on Saturday night. Forget the fact he doesn't have a great body, or that he's a junior. Forget all that. He plays."
Sims, the youngest of 10 children, left the team his sophomore season after his sister died of a heart attack in her early 30s.
"She was the first person I called, 'Mother,' Sims said. "It really affected me. It took me awhile to get over it. I still think about her every day."
Sims works hard because his parents did while he grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. His father is a retired international longshoreman who still works as a janitor and builds pools.
"He's still working on our house," Sims said. "He's always active."