Notes: visits and voyages

Malik Jefferson: by the numbers.

Three rookies checked in to Paul Brown Stadium Saturday, but head coach Marvin Lewis is keeping their jersey numbers close to the vest. So for the obligatory introductory photo they displayed the jersey with their name and number of the round they were drafted.

Teresa Jefferson, the mother of Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson who also made the flight along with his father, had a hard time seeing him with the No. 3. Because she’s so used to seeing No. 46 on her youngest son. Her middle child is the reason Malik wears it because that was his number growing up and Malik idolized him as he walked on at North Texas State as a running back.

Jefferson won’t get 46 here since it’s the number of Pro Bowl long snapper Clark Harris …

Lewis joked while calling Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates III in the second round that they were having a regional draft. Bates was in Fort Wayne, Ind., and first-rounder Billy Price was in Youngstown, Ohio. Then in the third round they took Cincinnati's Sam Hubbard. All three drove to Paui Brown Stadium ...

The Bengals have some young guys. Four of the 11 picks are 21 and three of them (Jessie Bates, Auden Tate and Mark Walton) just turned 21 in the last two months. Walton is the youngest, born in March of 1997.

Jefferson doesn’t turn 22 until Nov. 15, but he sounds like a grizzled veteran. He’s been through all as the best high school linebacker in the country before going to Texas when the program was racked by change and getting his play criticized despite a revolving door of schemes …

He says winning the Butkus Award as a high school senior was good and bad.

“Kind of both,” he said. “Super crazy expectations. More exposure, that helps. The pressure gets crazy at Texas. It’s like playing for an NFL team. If you can handle that pressure …” …

Michael Jefferson, Malik’s father also made the trip. He’s an architect who is currently working in the construction business. He also helped build Malik’s career and he knows 21 is still young even if he’s in the NFL. He’s glad he’s with Lewis.

 “I’ve been a fan of Coach Lewis for a long time, going back even when he was a defensive coordinator,” Michael Jefferson said. “I like the culture and the culture that Coach Lewis is I think the same culture I have in my house and I want him to be part of that stuff. It’s a blessing in disguise.”

If Bates handled himself well in Saturday’s news conference it’s because he’s an aspiring sports broadcaster. He’s two semesters shy of his communications degree at Wake Forest, but got a B-plus in his sports broadcasting class. It was taught by Dave Goren, the sideline reporter for the Wake Forest games.  

“It’s something I’m very interested in,” Bates said. “I love the game and other sports. I think it’s cool to be able to talk to athletes and see how they’re thinking.”

Goren is also executive director of the National Sports Media Association and has no problems contacting the speakers that would come in during the week

“It was a big class and we talked about life, too,” Bates said.

Goren says he wasn’t only good in the classroom. He says his football IQ soars and points to one of his favorite plays, where Bates played a quick kick like a center-fielder and took it 40 yards instead of watching it …

Bates played at Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Rod Woodson’s high school in Fort Wayne (Snider) and tied his season record with nine picks. They were in touch before the draft.

“Rod actually hit me up yesterday. It was pretty cool,” Bates said.

“He was just saying, ‘Congratulations. Really enjoy this whole moment because you only get to do it once. Take the weekend and then get right back to work.’” ...

Rookie minicamp is set for May 11-13 ...

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