As the process chugs ever so inexorably to the May 8-10 NFL Draft, the Bengals host their invite-only local day at Paul Brown Stadium Wednesday morning with the most intriguing prospect Cincinnati Northwest High School's Preston Brown out of Louisville, a projected mid-rounder at linebacker.
NFL teams can host any number of players for pre-draft workouts that either went to high school or played college ball in the Cincinnati metropolitan area. The 6-2 260-pound Brown is seen as a possible NFL starter at inside linebacker while the other prospects are trying to hook on in the later rounds or as free agents.
Three Big Ten starters who played locally, Anderson High School's Andrew Norwell, an Ohio State guard, Loveland's Brian Wozniak, a Wisconsin tight end, and Indian Hill's Ted Bolser, an Indiana tight end, have a shot at being late-round picks and free agents. Bolser's IU teammate, running back Stephen Houston out of Lakota West High School, is also seen as a guy that can make a late run with an NFL body (6-1, 230 pounds) and NFL speed (4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash) after playing in a rotation of backs in Bloomington.
There are also defensive linemen who may be this year's Larry Black. Black, a tackle who played at Indiana via Wyoming High School, signed with the Bengals as a free agent last year and was having a big camp until he broke his leg in August. His brother, Jibreel Black, who played at Michigan, is now trying to hook on. So is Wisconsin down lineman Pat Muldoon, out of St. Xavier High School.
There is a batch of University of Cincinnati players looking to impress. Guard Austen Bujnoch, the son of former Bengals guard Glenn Bujnoch, is projected as a center and is trying to show scouts he's healthy after playing much of his senior year with a broken foot. His quarterback, Brendon Kay, is as healthy as been in a year, and tight end Blake Annen is trying to keep the momentum going from his pro day at Clifton after he ran a sub 4.5-second 40-yard dash.
After the workout the specialists take over and there'll a rivalry on display. Miami University punter Zac Murphy, out of Kings High School, is going to be kicking to UC returner/ wide receiver Anthony McClung. The 6-2, 207-pound Murphy can drill it. His 46.6-yard average was fourth highest in the county and that included 25 punts of more than 50 yards and another 18 inside the 20-yard line.
The list of players currently scheduled to participate, followed by each player's college, and by his high school (in parentheses) if local:
--DT Marcus Aiken, Cincinnati; TE Blake Annen, Cincinnati; -DT Jibreel Black, Michigan (Wyoming HS); LB Greg Blair, Cincinnati; TE Ted Bolser, Indiana (Indian Hill HS); LB Preston Brown, Louisville (Northwest HS); OL Austen Bujnoch, Cincinnati (Elder HS); DB Arryn Chenault, Cincinnati (Fairfield HS); QB Bo Cordell, Tusculum (Indian Hill HS); RB Avery Cunningham, Central Michigan (Winton Woods HS);
OL Dre Cureton, Cincinnati; -DT Adam Dempsey, Cincinnati (Highlands HS, Fort Thomas, KY); DB Deven Drane, Cincinnati; RB Stephen Houston (Indiana (Lakota West HS); WR Steve Hull, Illinois (Sycamore HS); QB Brendon Kay, Cincinnati; RB Anthony King, Cincinnati; OL Sam Longo, Cincinnati (Bellbrook Spring Valley HS); WR Anthony McClung, Cincinnati; DL Pat Muldoon, Wisconsin (St. Xavier HS); -P Zac Murphy, Miami-Ohio; (Kings HS); OL Andrew Norwell, Ohio State (Anderson HS); -DE Jordan Stepp, Cincinnati; TE Brian Wozniak, Wisconsin (Loveland HS)