-Billy Price couldn't wear his Ohio State number of 54 because it's retired for the first Bengal ever drafted in center Bob Johnson. So the team wanted him to go a slot down to No. 53.
No problem for the Bengals' first-round pick
"Stay in my lane. Go to work," said Price with a shrug as the rookies broke for lunch Friday before their first practice of minicamp.
Price was surprised by one item hanging in his temporary locker in the annex of the locker room reserved for first-year players.
"Hey, I've got a helmet," he said as he mashed it on his head.
But he won't be wearing it for real until training camp as he continues to rehab from surgery on his partially torn pectoral muscle …
-Department of It's a Small World After All: Second-round pick Jessie Bates III, the safety from Wake Forest, found himself lockering next to seventh-round pick Auden Tate, the wide receiver from Florida State.
"He caught the game-winning touchdown against us," said Bates of Tate's 40-yard catch down the middle last September in the last minute to pull out a back-and-forth game.
No, Bates wasn't covering him. ("He was going outside the majority of time where I was inside in the slot playing man-to-man."). But it was quite a tussle just the same. Bates and Tate already knew each other before that day from playing against each other in years past and following each other on Instagram. ("Just from playing each other. That's out of respect. He's a hell of a player.") But that didn't stop Tate from drilling Bates with a blind-side block.
"We were joking about that," said Bates with a laugh. "I'm going to get him."
Not only that, Bates is rooming with another seventh-rounder, Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside. Bates, out of Fort Wayne, Indiana, had actually committed to Toledo when Woodside was the quarterback but opted for Wake Forest when the offer came a week before signing day.
Woodside hasn't forgotten.
"When he got drafted I was pretty sure he was following me (on social media) and got my number and called me the next day," said Bates, who knows Woodside is a good find for the media. "You'll get to know that guy. He's a character." …
-Woodside, from nearby Frankfort, Ky., showed up for the second time at Paul Brown Stadium. He says the first time was for a Browns game way back in the day to see University of Kentucky's Tim Couch quarterback Cleveland …
-As advertised, the Bengals wasted no time with undrafted South Florida free agent Quinton Flowers. The highly-decorated quarterback is listed as a running back but has been told he'll start out playing both with the emphasis on running back as well as giving returning a try.
He has checked out the tape of some other college QBs that ended up playing other positions, such as a pair of wide receivers in Antwan Randle-El and Randall Cobb.
"You can get some positive energy from those guys," Flowers said …
-Undrafted free agent Ja'Von Rolland-Jones, out of Arkansas State, came within a half sack of Arizona State's Terrell Suggs' collegiate record for career sacks. But 43.5 is still pretty good. One of the reasons he signed with Cincinnati is that his defensive line coach in the East-West Shrine Game was Bengals assistant linebackers coach Marcus Lewis, whose specialty is the spin move.
"It was factor. He's a great coach," Rolland-Jones said. "He kind of got me to clean up some of it. I haven't perfected it yet. It's coming."
He can't wait until the veterans hit town because he wants to pick left end Carlos Dunlap's brain. He has already heisted one of Dunlap's moves off film.
"The way he uses the stab chop," Rolland-Jones said. "You stab the inner pec (the shoulder) and then wipe away the other arm. I'd love to learn from watching him do it in practice."
Arkansas State is the home of one of the all-time Bengals' greats, linebacker Bill Bergey. But that 1969 draft he was taken with the 31st pick is nearly 50 years ago.