DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE ZIMMER AND LINEBACKERS COACH JEFF FITZGERALDInitial comments:MZ: "We drafted Dontay Moch. He was the fastest linebacker on the board. He had over 30 sacks in his career — seven, 12, nine and four, respectively. He's a bit of a projection guy. He's a terrific special teams player. He was a bit undersized as a rusher in college. He has the ability with his speed to be used in third-down situations while we're trying to get him to learn the linebacker position. But we feel good about him. He has a lot of upside. Hopefully we can do a good job coaching him up."
Is that the fastest 40-yard dash time in combine history for a linebacker?MZ: "I don't know. It's fast, but I'd have to think about that. He does have rare speed. Obviously he will have some other issues converting to a linebacker, or he would've been picked a lot higher. He's got all of the rare qualities that you look for. He's got strength, speed and intelligence, and we're looking to convert it from there."
Did he play a lot of defensive end?MZ: "He played a lot of rush defensive end in college. He's going to have to learn the drops like a lot of these hybrid guys. We feel like we can get him involved in a lot of third-down situations as one of the four rushers. That was our vision for him while we converted him to a full time, stand-up linebacker."
JF: "His athletic ability led us to believe that he can make the transition, although we don't know that because its not something you saw him do (in college). He did stand up a little bit on third down, what we call an X-linebacker. He was primarily a rushing end, but the tools he has are very positive. I had the opportunity to work him out in a private one-on-one workout in Reno. It was very positive. We put him through a gamut of movement drills and pass drops, and he did very well. The thing that was impressive about him also was when he tripped up or didn't do well, he was very inquisitive, wondering what he could have done better. He wants to be better and knows that he can be. I think our expectations for him are in-line. We will work with him and have some time to do that. He'll reach a higher expectation level as he gets acclimated to the first- and second-down parts of his job with our defense."
MZ: "His production at Reno was excellent. His speed and strength were excellent. Everything he did there was excellent. He just didn't play as a dropper, but that's college football. You just have to take some of these guys and put them at linebacker."
JF: "The other thing worth mentioning is his mental capability, in terms of talking to him and having him show us on the board and explain to me what he did on defense. We watched some tape. He was articulate in getting the message across. He showed that he did have some knowledge and was able to pick things up fairly well in a one-on-one meeting. The mental part also lends to the things he needs to learn. It's going to be a good bit more than what he's used to just being an end."
Is he comparable to DE Michael Johnson?MZ:"He's not the same size. He's probably more productive than Michael was in college. He had more speed than Michael had. He changes direction better. Michael is a larger man. (Moch) is over six-foot-one. Athletically, there isn't a comparison."
JF: "He played at Nevada-Reno, so the level of competition has something to do with that. What we find is that guys who we consider outside linebackers (but) play defensive end (in college, their teams) play with smaller players inside, and the outside is supplemented with defensive backs, because of the type of offenses you see in the college game now."
Can he line up anywhere?MZ:"We had talked about him being a hybrid guy on third down. He's a terrific special teams player with terrific speed. His measurables are unbelievable. But he also had production in college. He had roughly 32 sacks. He's a productive guy. He's not a measurable guy who we hope can play linebacker. In our vision, he will start out as a special teams guy and a third-down rusher where we can move him around and use him in drop situations while he's learning how to become a full-time linebacker. How fast he gets in as a full-time linebacker depends on how fast he makes the transition from a college defensive end who sometimes stood on his feet to a guy who plays behind the line of scrimmage and drops into coverage."
Is this someone you have a vision for?MZ: "We try to have a vision for what he can do for us and how he can help this team get better. It wouldn't matter if it was the first player picked. We have to have a vision of how he fits, what he does for the defense, what he does for the team and what kind of guy he is in the locker room. This kid has fantastic intangibles. He'll be great in the locker room. He's going to work his rear end off, and he loves to work, study and practice — all the things which we think are important in being not only a good football team and teammate, but also helping us be a good organization. Saying that, it's not our vision for him to come in and be the starting middle linebacker. He's going to have to progress to that spot. But we do have a vision for how we're going to use him early on, and how we're going to get him to the starting linebacker spot."
Last year's injuries forced you to play Michael Johnson at defensive end for the most part. Is he going to stay at that position?MZ: "We're not sure yet. Without being able to work with them (the players), it kind of hinders us a little bit. I think Michael Johnson has the ability to do it. In my opinion and in Marvin's opinion, it's how we can fit the best 11, 15, 22 guys in on defense. Luckily, we have some guys who have some flexibility at their position. A lot of it depends on our personnel and how we can get the best players on the field. It really doesn't matter as long as we get the best 11 guys. The best deal is that he's playing end for us. Those are all things that we have to do during the offseason, or during training camp — hopefully."
MARVIN LEWISInitial comments:ML: "He has rare physical tools. He had awesome production at Nevada and did the things we need to do, which is pressure the football. I'm excited about that."
His speed and jumping abilities are rare ...ML: "Yeah. I was listening to Mel (Kiper) talk about him and Mel had him running 4.2. Wow (laughing). He obviously has some great physical tools and does the things you want to see him do. You're taking a guy who hasn't been over-coached there — and they do a great job there in Reno. He still has a lot of growth and a lot of learning to do, so we're getting a guy on the upswing."
How do you feel about the first three rounds?ML: "They've gone very well — as well as we could expect. I thought at the conclusion of last night, we really felt very good about the way things had come off the board. I felt like we had things lined up very well. I felt the same was true as we went into the second round. The way we had guys rated was pretty much in line with the way the league had them rated. There's always going to be a couple of guys we may have a little lower, but that's just a couple people. I feel good about the process thus far, and we have opportunities with five more picks. We'll add five more players who can come in and make us better and compete. We'll look for guys who have standout abilities who can come in and compete for a job."
After coaching at the Senior Bowl, do you still feel like there are some offensive lineman out there on the board?ML: "Yeah. One guy went yesterday at No. 27 or 28. He was one of those guys who we had our eye on hoping he'd get to the 35th pick. He would be one in that group. There are a bunch of guys, though, that will be in the fourth and fifth round that we're hoping to get a shot at and continue to evolve our youth and depth on the offensive front. Possibly (it will be) the same in the secondary, and possibly at running back. We have some spots that we can fill in."
For one day — this morning and afternoon — did it feel like business as usual?ML: "It has been good. We haven't gotten a notice of any change from the league so far, so we're good to go."
At least players got to come in for a little bit ...ML: "Yeah, you guys are overreacting to what you're seeing there. Don't overreact to that."
DONTAY MOCHDid you think this is about the spot that you would go?DM: "I had no idea where I'd end up. I'm just honored to be a Bengal."
What do you think about the transfer from college defensive end to an outside linebacker in the NFL?DM: "I definitely feel that I can make that transition. It's different from what I was doing at the college level, but I definitely feel I can step into it."
Why do you think so?DM: "With time, I think I can learn the position. Practice makes perfect."
Did you figure that you would have to make that transition in the pros anyway?DM:"Most definitely. I told myself I needed to have that transition move under my belt, and just be ready to make the transition."
Is the biggest thing for you going to be covering the pass?DM: "Yeah. I did a lot of that in college, but I just have to make that perfect for the next level. I just need to work on perfecting those drops and get my eyes locked in."
The coaches said you were an accomplished special teams player in college. Do you plan to play special teams in the NFL?DM: "Oh yeah. I'll definitely play special teams. I'm definitely ready to do it. With special teams, I have passion for it. I'll contribute any way I can. I'm ready for it."
What's your favorite role to play on special teams? Why?DM: "Probably kickoff. You just haul down the field, keep inside your lane and cause havoc back there."
What is the fastest 40-yard dash you've ever run?DM: "4.2 (seconds). It was at my pro day at Nevada."
Did the basketball team at Nevada try to recruit you with your 42-inch vertical?DM: "(Laughs) No, that never popped into my mind."
Did you play basketball in high school?DM: "No. I did growing up, but not in high school. I ran track."
Did you do high-jump?DM: "Yeah. I did high-jump, hurdles, long-jump."
How high was your high-jump?DM: "Six feet was the highest I reached. That was during my junior year."
Six feet? You'd think it would be a little higher for someone with a 42-inch vertical:DM: "(Laughs) Yeah. I didn't really have the technique down yet."
Where are you right now?DM: "I'm (at home) in Phoenix, Arizona, right now with my family."