ML: "I'm down here again with good pleasure. Devon Still really fits for us right now. He's another young guy with an opportunity to come in here and solidify our front. He's played and been very productive throughout his career. He's had games where he's basically just taken over the football game. Now the challenge is, obviously, to do it at this level. He's got the speed and the athleticism to do that, and the size and the strength to be able to do it. We've just got to keep going with him. He's a big man, and he'll continue to grow and get bigger and stronger. He's been a good worker there (at Penn State). So we're really pleased to add another guy to add some inside depth. One of the areas we felt like we really wanted to continue to shore up was to make sure we fit well with our tackle rotation. Last year, when Pat (Sims) got touched up a little bit, we felt like we took a little step back in that way. Devon will help us with that."
Do you see him strictly as a defensive tackle? Will he play any at defensive end?
ML: "He's a tackle. He's an inside guy who has been a good rusher. He's played vertically a lot. He gets off the ball well. He uses his hands. He's a big, long guy, with a good athletic stance, and he's a good knee-bender."
You got to see him in person last year, when your son, Marcus (plays for Indiana State), played at Penn State:
ML: "I got to see him in person in the fall (laughs)."
He's a relative of former Pittsburgh Steelers LB Levon Kirkland, right?
ML: "Yeah, I saw that. I read that when we were going through the whole deal. One of his cousins is Levon. Good bloodlines. Another good second-round pick."
He was a four-year guy at Penn State, right?
So then you feel like he's a mature guy who can come in and handle being a pro?
ML: "Yeah. He stayed in last year, instead of coming out. He's been there for four years. And obviously we know the quality of the program there."
Defensive line coach JAY HAYES
JH: "We're very excited about getting Devon Still from Penn State — defensive tackle. We look forward to working him in with our guys and getting him in the rotation."
What's his biggest strength?
JH: "I would say he's a good pass rusher for a defensive tackle. He has athletic ability, quickness and can slip blocks. Those types of things. He has a lot of upside to him. That's what you're betting on with him."
Did he play in the Senior Bowl?
JH: "He did not. He's also Art Still (DE for Kansas City from 1978-87)'s cousin — a pretty good player."
This is the second time in three years that you guys have spent a second-round pick on a defensive lineman (other was Carlos Dunlap in 2010):
JH: "Yeah. Whenever they give them to me, that's when I take them. I'm not picky."
How important was it for you to have that four-player rotation at DT, like you've had for the last few years but lost with the departures of Frostee Rucker and Jonathan Fanene?
JH: "We've had success taking guys in the second round, in the third round, in the fourth round, and we've had success with guys in the seventh. Domata (Peko) was a fourth-rounder, Junior (Robert Geathers) was a fourth-rounder, Geno (Atkins) was a fourth rounder. The second-round guy that we've had has been Carlos Dunlap, and he's done well for us. The third-round guys — Frostee and Pat. It just depends on how the days go during the draft. Some days you end up getting guys at this juncture of the draft. They just have to go out there and put their best foot forward as they get here."
Were you surprised he was still available at pick 53?
JH: "This is about where I thought he would go, personally. But what do I know (laughs)?"
Were you surprised Devon Still was still available at pick No. 53?
JH: "This is about where I thought he would go, personally, but what do I know?"
What does he need to work on the most?
JH: "Being consistent, making the switch from the college game to the NFL, learning how to be a pro and do this day in and day out for hopefully 20-plus weeks — the things that you have to do to be a productive guy. And, to be able to accept his role, whatever that may be, whether it's coming in and playing 15 or 20 plays, or coming in and playing 40. Where we've had success most recently is where we're rolling guys through and having everyone giving maximum effort. At Penn State, they did not do a lot of rolling, so he played all the time. Hopefully, with the strong group we have, it will help his play and understanding of what a defensive line — what a group — can do to people. We have a good understanding of that right now. We have strong, strong leadership in our room, and they don't like when people don't do things the right way. They'll take young guys under their wing and show them the right way to do things. Guys like (Robert Geathers), who is going into his ninth year with me — and he's still 29 years old —he is one of the best professional football players I've ever been around when it comes to understanding what it's like and what you have to do to be a counted-on guy. Domata Peko is the same way. They will drag guys kicking and screaming to where they need to be. Eventually, they'll get it."
How do you feel about the defensive line at this point in the offseason?
JH: "That remains to be seen. Those guys are good pros and they understand. They've been on a couple teams, so they know the importance of giving effort and doing what you're supposed to do to be a part of a group. I look forward to working with Jamaal (Anderson) and Derrick (Harvey) —getting them in with the guys, getting them working. We'll just have to see how everybody fits and go from there."
Did Devon Still match up against Wisconsin G Kevin Zeitler (a Bengals first-round draft pick) in the film you watched?
JH: "I can't recall. I don't remember if they've played each other or not. I've watched him against a bunch of people, but I can't remember if I've watched him against Wisconsin. I'm sure they played each other at some point during their careers."
How is Devon Still as a run stopper?
JH: "He's shown flashes, to be honest with you. He's shown flashes of being a big-time player. Some people had this guy in the first round. Some people say, 'Hey, if he's done it once, he can do it a bunch of times.' So we're fixing to find out. I'm sure he will. As you get older, we all know you get bills and babies and start getting responsibilities, and things happen."
You've been able to get a lot of guys who weren't known for having high motors coming out of the draft:
JH: "It's a little bit of the position. Part of it honesty, for example with Devon, is he did not come out of games. People say, if you remember back with Haloti Ngata, people used to say when he was coming out, 'It doesn't look like he plays hard.' All of you to a man would say that Haloti Ngata plays hard right now, right? So it's maturity. And I am very persuasive, if you haven't noticed."
Any time you get a big guy like Devon Still in this division, it's got to help:
JH: "In our division, if you don't, they're going to take their man-card from you if you don't man up. So if you don't want to get embarrassed, you better start playing, because these guys are serious. Like coach (Marvin) Lewis likes to say, 'They're playing mean.'"
Adding a 300-pounder should help you:
JH: "It's a good thing. It's a good thing. As my father used to say, 'The cream rises to the top.' If you're doing it right, you'll go to the top. Hopefully that's what he'll do. Competition — it's good for everybody, right? Hopefully."
What was it like having to wait until the second day to be picked?
DS: "It was exciting, but it was also hard. I expected to be an early-round draft pick. But whether I was picked early or picked with the last pick of the draft, it's a great opportunity to play in the NFL, and I'll take the challenge head on."
What do you know about the Bengals?
DS: "I know a lot about the Bengals. I've watched the AFC North a lot because they play the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were my favorite team growing up. It's a hard-hitting conference, and every game is like a playoff game. I'm looking forward to playing for the Bengals and helping them get to the Super Bowl."
What's it like playing for one of the Steelers division rivals now?
DS: "It's a good feeling. At the end of the day, this is a job. I'll do everything I can to help the Bengals beat any team we play."
What's your biggest strength?
DS: "Living in the backfield. I try to do as much as I can to make it hard on the opposite team's offensive coordinator. I'll take that attitude into the NFL and hopefully flourish as one of the best defensive tackles in the league."
Do you think it's fair that some people say that your talent didn't show until your senior year?
DS: "It's fair, because everyone has their own opinion. I was injured two consecutive years and I missed both years. After my sophomore year, I improved each year. I wouldn't say I didn't use my talent until my senior year — it's more that I didn't have the opportunity to learn the college game as other players did."
What were the injuries?
DS: "I tore my ACL in 2007 and broke my ankle in 2008."
How do you think the adversity you went through at Penn State will help you in the NFL?
DS: "You will always face adversity. You don't know what's going to come. You have to be able to handle it. Just like this weekend, when I expected to be an early pick. I have to deal with what happened and make the best of this opportunity. I think it's a great opportunity to play for the Bengals."
Why is it a great opportunity?
DS: "Because they have a great defense. Every time I saw them, their defense caused the other team problems. Just to be a man on the defense and in the rotation ... hopefully I can give them what they need to get them to the Super Bowl."
You played a lot of the snaps at Penn State. Do you think playing 15 to 20 snaps in the NFL will help you adjust to the league?
DS: "I think so. At Penn State, I probably average 60 or more plays per game. That's a lot of plays, especially at the college level and in the Big Ten. I think playing less snaps will help my joints out and allow me to make more of an impact."
Do you think people question the motors of big guys who play a lot of snaps?
DS: "From experience, playing a lot of plays ... (inaudible) ... Being a professional football player, you have to learn to do that. Teams are making an investment in you for a reason."
You have a family history of successful NFL players. What's it like to be part of that now?
DS: "Like you said, I have a bloodline of NFL players. Hopefully I'll make an impact like my cousins did. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to help my family keep going."
Your cousin, Levon Kirkland, played for Marvin Lewis in Pittsburgh, right?
DS: "Yes he did. He played outside linebacker."
Have you talked to him about Marvin at all?
DS: "Actually, I haven't had a chance to talk to him. We don't stay in contact."
Did you make a visit to Cincinnati or have a workout?
DS: "No. I only met with the Bengals at the combine. We haven't talked since then. That's why I was so surprised that they selected me."