Posted: 11 p.m.
Virtually every Mock Draft from Anderson Township to Zanesville has the Bengals taking USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis at No. 9.
And if it breaks the right way, the Bengals.com Media Mock Draft IV says he'll be there. But that's before trades, stunners, and Saturday's first Peyton Manning commercial.
"He could be there, but I think when everything gets set up he's too good to last that long," says a former NFL personnel man who has worked in both conferences and says the Bengals have to hope Ellis is there.
A look at the top 10 of the final Mock:
1. DOLPHINS: LT Jake Long, Michigan; Harvey Fialkov, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Despite Bill Parcells' Freudian slip of "pillar of our defense," the offensive line is in disarray, John Beck and Cleo Lemon are running for their lives, and new head coach Tony Sparano is an O-line guru. But Draft Day should be easy for the equipment guy. If it's not Jake Long, Fialkov says, "My money is on Chris Long." (Previous picks: Chris Long, Jake Long, Jake Long)
2. RAMS: DT Glenn Dorsey, LSU; Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Thomas has gone with Chris Long the past two Mocks, but he has the sense the Rams have Dorsey now rated higher and they don't mind the leg stress fracture. Plus, there are times they can move tackle Adam Carriker to end, and defensive tackle La'Roi Glover could be heading into his last season when he hits training camp at age 34. (Previous picks: Jake Long, Chris Long, Chris Long)
3. FALCONS: QB Matt Ryan, Boston College; Steve Wyche, Atlanta Journal- Constitution: The Falcons are lusting after Dorsey, but if he's not there they'd probably love to trade down to Baltimore at No. 8 and still get a man to help their run-stopping woes in Ellis. There has been some talk that the Saints, at No. 10, are trying to trade up here or with St. Louis to get Dorsey. (Previous picks: Dorsey, Dorsey, Dorsey)
4. RAIDERS: RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas; John Clayton, ESPN.com: Clayton admits that no one knows what Al Davis is going to do and that he could be hot on Chris Long now, but he could also show up Saturday and say there is no way he can pass on McFadden's enormous athleticism. That would be the Raider thing, but Clayton says even though Davis and Chris' dad aren't exactly warm and fuzzy, Howie Long was still a Raider. So stay tuned. (Previous picks: McFadden, OLB Vernon Gholston, McFadden)
5. CHIEFS: LT Ryan Clady, Boise State: Adam Teicher, Kansas City Star: If the Chiefs trade Jared Allen, which looks like they very well might, and Chris Long is still there, then Long is the guy. But it hasn't happened yet and the Chiefs O-line is under heavy construction. K.C. is switching to a zone blocking scheme a la Denver, which is Clady's college playbook. (Previous picks: Clady, Ellis, Clady)
6. JETS: DE Chris Long, Virginia; Rich Cimini, New York Daily News: The Jets would jump at this free fall. He'd be a versatile fit in their 3-4, playing a little end and a little outside linebacker and, of course, the intangibles are off the charts. (Previous picks: Gholston, Gholston, Leodis McKelvin)
7. PATRIOTS: OLB Vernon Gholston, Ohio State; Mike Reiss, The Boston Globe: A flip of the coin with Gholston and Ellis. The Pats could take either. Gholston gets the nod for an aging backer corps and New England doesn't have D-linemen reaching the last year of their deals until '09. The Pats seem convinced that Gholston can make the move from end to backer in forming what Reiss calls "Buckeye Bookends" with Mike Vrabel. Plus, it frees up backer Adalius Thomas to go inside.
FYI: In another mock draft Monday, Reiss came to No. 7 with both Gholston and Ellis gone and picked Virginia guard Branden Albert. Thinking in Belichickian terms: A safe pick. A lock starting guard who could also help some at tackle. (Previous picks: Ellis, DE Derrick Harvey, Ellis)
8. RAVENS: CB Leodis McKelvin, Troy; Jamison Hensley, The Baltimore Sun: This is another spot Ellis could go. You know the Wizard of Oz(zie) must like his strength at the point of attack.
But don't rule out a trade up to get Ryan. Or a trade down to get Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco. And McKelvin looks to be more attractive simply because the two starting corners, Samari Rolle and Chris McAlister, are both 30 and coming off surgeries with no one to speak of behind them. (Previous picks: McKelvin, Ryan, Ryan)
9. BENGALS: DT Sedrick Ellis, USC; Gil Brandt, NFL.com: For the first time this year we let the architect of America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys of the '60 and '70s, put a plank in the Bengals Mock.
"No question he's the best player at that point," says Brandt, who responds to his lack of height with, "he's so strong that he plays four inches taller and 20 pounds heavier."
10. SAINTS: OLB Keith Rivers, USC; Mike Triplett, New Orleans Times-Picayune: The Saints will be upset to be so close to Ellis and McKelvin and lose them because those are the guys they want in their search for a defensive playmaker. A year after signing former Bengal Brian Simmons to big money, the Saints cut him and are trying to remake their backer corps with the signing of Jonathan Vilma. Rivers could replace Scott Shanle on the outside.
A LOOK BACK: When Bengals.com checked in on the Senior Bowl back in January in Mobile, Ala., Ellis turned out to be the best player on both sides of the ball during the week of practice. He didn't disappoint as the highest-rated guy in the game.
"I don't know why they do it. I guess they're afraid of their stock falling," Ellis said then of the players that chose not to play. "I don't have that fear. Football is what I do. I'm going to get paid to do it, so I feel like I have to come out here and play my game."
Ellis showed up at Mobile at about 310 pounds and has since taken off about 10 even though the one thing the scouts have concerns about is his size. He has survived the influx of juniors, as well as the slings and arrows at his height (6-0) over the past three months to still be seen as a guy that could go anywhere from 4-9.
"I held up just fine for three years at 'SC and I think I can hold up just fine somewhere else," Ellis said then about his size. "We play the Big 10, the Michigans, the Illinois, the Texases. I think we've done a great job, our defensive linemen, of beating those guys and holding them to virtually no yards rushing the ball."
"I'm more worried about arms than anything else," said Bengals defensive line coach Jay Hayes as he watched one practice. "It's tough to play that position in the NFL with short arms. It's just so hard to keep your hands in and underneath and come off blocks. You can be short and still have a big reach."
Ellis' reach is 32.5 inches, about average. But the scouts have given him high marks for character, technique and strength.
Here is a take from our personnel man, who hasn't worked in the AFC North, on Ellis:
"I like him. He's only a notch below (LSU's Glenn) Dorsey. Dorsey is a little more explosive. His height will bother some teams. Dorsey isn't all that big either, but they've played against big guys.
"Ellis is an extremely strong guy. Six feet, 300 pounds, but he's a lot stronger than that size would indicate. He's very destructive when he plays in the three technique (when the tackle lines up on the outside shoulder of either one of the guards). He plays with very good concentration, has good hand skills, and he's got the kind of motor you love. He never gives up on a play."
In fact, he thinks the Bengals are going to have a problem defensively if Ellis isn't there. The next best lineman figures to be Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey, a 6-4, 270-pound junior that is nearly a physical clone of two young defensive ends the Bengals already have in Robert Geathers and Antwan Odom.
"I don't think they would do Harvey because of that," he said. "I think Harvey is a good player. I wish he were a little faster as a rusher, but he's got real long arms, big hands, and a good first step. I don't know how he'll do against the run. I think he'll be a very good rusher, but he's not very strong in the lower body."
He thinks USC linebacker Keith Rivers is a 10-15 pick. "I think he runs better and is more athletic than Harvey," he said.
A TREND: Ellis is represented by the firm of Eugene Parker, Chris Perry's agent. Perry, the Bengals first-round pick in 2004, held out most of training camp. In the past, Cincinnati hasn't picked according to agents, considering the Bengals chose three more Leigh Steinberg clients (Dan Wilkinson, Ki-Jana Carter, Akili Smith) after David Klingler's month-long siege in 1992.