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Crabtree in mix

INDIANAPOLIS - Now Michael Crabtree gets real interesting for the Bengals.

With Saturday's news that the Texas Tech wideout is going to be sidelined beyond the NFL Draft with a stress fracture, the prospect that he'll fall to No. 6 just got larger.

Consider that the growing consensus is the top two left tackles (Virginia's Eugene Monroe and Baylor's Jason Smith) are probably going to be gone by the time the Bengals select and Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford and Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry are considered top five picks.

Given that it sounds like Crabtree won't be able to lock up top five status with a 40-yard dash time that would ease the concern of some skeptics, his status has to be in doubt.

But the Bengals and all teams are going to have to weigh doctors' predictions that he'll be ready for training camp.

It's been a tough combine for Crabtree even though he hasn't broken a sweat. On Friday he measured just over 6-1 when a lot of teams thought he was 6-3.

Smith did nothing but raise his stock Saturday when he had 33 reps in the bench press and ran 5.2 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Monroe had 23 reps and Mississippi's Michael Oher 21, which might be a product of the differing wingspans. Smith said Thursday that he's got a 33-inch reach while Monroe and Oher look to have bigger wingspans.

Meanwhile, the Andre Smith story gets tougher. Two days after he showed up looking a little heavy and blew off questions about his bowl game suspension, he disappeared brielfy from the combine and, maybe the top 10, before he was discovered.

Two intriguing defenders showed up on the podium Saturday afternoon, but some say No. 6 is projected too high for Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji and way too low for Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry.

Raji came in off his big Senior Bowl week and credited the Bengals coaching staff.

"The big reason I had success was the way they coached," Raji said. "Different techniques ... they're coaches. They criticized me when they had to."

The 6-1, 254-pound Curry is the kind of kid that makes mothers and NFL personnel officials weep. Advertised as the safest pick in the draft, Curry put on a 20-minute seminar on what a No. 1 pick should sound like in what some scribes called the best combine interview ever.

Curry, a SAM linebacker who can play all three spots, was named the nation's best linebacker two years after he showed up from school one day and was told his family had been evicted. But his mother told him not come out early for the money and he graduated with a degree in sociology.

He revealed a tattoo dedicated to his mother on a massive bicep. It is a bar code of his favorite candy (Jujubees) with his birthday (April 6, 1986) and the words "Property of Chris Curry." Ironically, his father, with whom he isn't close, Reggie Pinkney, played safety for the Lions, the team holding the No. 1 pick.

But it is doubtful the Bengals could get Curry to be the David Pollack pass rusher. He'll be gone by No. 6, most likely, and he had only 2.5 sacks last year.

But he says he played defensive end in four games as a junior because of injury and says he can put his hand down in the pros.

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