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First draft of Draft


The Bengals took linebacker Marquis Flowers in the sixth round of last year's draft and they may be looking for more this trip.

The Bengals scouting party strikes out for Mobile, Ala., and the Reese's Senior Bowl Monday to monitor the practice week before next Saturday's game (4 p.m.-NFL Network) and it has plenty on its wish list.

No doubt linebacker has a notation and for good reason. They just finished a season where they went through a devastating series of injuries at that spot and, not only that, middle linebacker Rey Maualuga is a free agent.

In Mobile they'll get to see some interesting inside linebackers who come from the nation's most hallowed ground for the position.

The North has 6-0, 232-pound Mike Hull from Penn State, the original Linebacker U., as well as 6-1, 235-pound Hayes Pullard from USC. The South lines up with 6-2, 245-pound Anthony Stephone from Clemson and 5-11, 242-pound Denzel Perryman from the University of Miami.

 Penn State. USC. The U. Clemson. That should at least make for some pretty interesting drill work by guys that know what they're doing.

 The Bengals actually took a USC linebacker who played in the 2008 Senior Bowl in the first round, but Keith Rivers' career never got off the ground because of injuries. The Bengals aren't looking to take an outside or inside linebacker that high this time, but some of the inside guys figure to be available in the middle rounds or so.

There are also a couple of local guys that warrant a look on the North squad. The 6-1, 256-pound Jeff Luc out of the University of Cincinnati lines up at inside backer, but no one is sure where Kentucky's Bud Dupree is going to line up. The 6-4, 267-pound Dupree could line up at both defensive end and outside linebacker.      

Along with Maualuga, Pro Bowl WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict is also a question mark after he missed the last nine games with an unspecified  knee injury. Indications are that Burfict planned to undergo surgery and when defensive tackle Geno Atkins and left guard Clint Boling underwent knee surgeries last year, the concern was that they'd end up on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) and miss the first six weeks of the season.

That is pretty much the concern for anyone who has any kind of surgery. But Atkins and Boling not only started the season, they played every game and that's what the hope is for Burfict. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said last week he's under the impression that Burfict will be back in time to start the season after a surgery.

But just the same, the Bengals figure to work on their backer depth as part of their Senior assignment.

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