AFC North: Corey Lynch

Outside linebacker Keith Rivers, who was traded today to the New York Giants for a fifth-round pick, wasn't the only disappointment in the Bengals' 2008 draft class.

Cincinnati failed to find a long-term impact player out of its 10 picks that year. Rivers, the ninth overall pick in the 2008 draft, finished with the most starts in this class with 33, and the only players that remain with the team are two backups: defensive tackle Pat Sims (third round), and offensive tackle Anthony Collins (fourth round).

Wide receiver Jerome Simpson (second round) produced a career-high 50 catches last season as the team's No. 2 wide receiver, but he now faces 15 days in a Kentucky jail after pleading guilty to a drug charge. The Bengals haven't ruled out bringing him back.

Wide receiver Andre Caldwell (third round) showed promise in 2009 when he made a career-best 51 catches. But he followed that up with a combined 61 receptions the past two seasons. Caldwell signed this offseason with the Denver Broncos.

There were two players -- defensive tackle Jason Shirley (fifth round) and safety Corey Lynch (sixth round) -- who played a handful of games for Cincinnati before going elsewhere for reserve roles. Shirley played last season for Carolina, and Lynch was with Tampa Bay.

The last three players taken in the Bengals' 2008 draft -- tight end Matt Sherry (sixth), defensive end Angelo Craig (seventh) and wide receiver Mario Urritia (seventh) -- never played a regular-season game for Cincinnati and are out of the league.

In comparison, the Ravens drafted quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice that season, and the Pittsburgh Steelers selected running back Rashard Mendenhall. Even the Browns, who had limited picks after trading for Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams, got underrated defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin in the sixth round.

Bengals fill practice squad

September, 6, 2009
9/06/09
2:50
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker


The Cincinnati Bengals signed eight players to their practice squad Sunday.

The full list is as follows:

Bengals: Cutdown analysis

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
5:02
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker


Biggest surprise: Although I suggested this strategy as a possible solution earlier this week, I was still surprised to see the Bengals take my advice and cut two fullbacks in order to keep both DeDe Dorsey and Brian Leonard. Cincinnati now has four active tailbacks with Dorsey and Leonard to go along with starter Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott. All four have been solid in the preseason. Jeremi Johnson is the only fullback on the roster as the team cut both Chris Pressley and draft pick Fui Vakapuna. But Leonard is versatile and has the ability to be the backup at both fullback and tailback, which factored into the final decision.

No-brainers: Safety Marvin White had some potential, but coming off a major knee injury he got off to a slow start this year and fell behind a deep group of safeties in Cincinnati. Former 2008 draft pick Corey Lynch certainly wasn’t a no-brainer, but it was pretty clear that rookie free-agent safety Tom Nelson beat him out for one of the last roster spots. Receivers such as Freddie Brown and Maurice Purify never had a chance in Cincinnati, because the Bengals are just too deep at that position.

What’s next: With first-round pick Andre Smith recovering from a broken bone in his foot, the Bengals may scan the wires to see if an intriguing prospect or two surfaces on the offensive line, particularly at tackle. Cincinnati also wouldn't mind retaining some of its younger players on the practice squad, such as Vakapuna and Pressley. Otherwise, the Bengals are set at most positions and shouldn’t have a lot of turnover before the start of the regular season.

'Hard Knocks' recap: Episode 2

August, 20, 2009
8/20/09
10:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

HBO's "Hard Knocks" series with the Cincinnati Bengals continued Wednesday night.

Here is a recap of some of the highlights:

Synopsis: This week's episode focused a lot on Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, who was accurately described as the team's most important player this season. Cincinnati played a mock game and also its first preseason game against the New Orleans Saints. Before the game, Bengal players and coaches were telling each other this was the start of something special. But the exhibition turned out to be a 17-7 win for the Saints. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis wasn't happy afterwards about the team's second-half performance.

QB wisdom: According to Palmer, 60-to-70 percent of what star receiver Chad Ochocinco says is just hot air. Palmer says he tunes out his top target most of the time.

More Ocho: The veteran receiver went out for a rare night on the town during training camp and ended up being harassed by a male fan. Ochocinco handles it well and later responds, "See how boring my life is? All I have is Twitter." The show also focused on his not-so-good diet, which has always included a lot of McDonald's.

Truth and reality: "Hard Knocks" continues to make rookie tight end Chase Coffman a huge goat on the show, which is only part of the story. Coffman is making rookie mistakes, but he's gradually improved as camp has progressed. Yet it seems every one of his mistakes is being profiled in what's framed almost as a running joke. It was pretty funny that the coaching staff came up with a new nickname for Coffman: "Crash dummy."

Far apart: The show ends with a bang as Bengals vice president Katie Blackburn is on the telephone negotiating with Alvin Keels, the agent for first-round pick Andre Smith. With tens of millions of dollars at stake, both sides argue over the Darrius Heyward-Bey deal and how it impacts Smith. Keels wants more than Heyward-Bey, while Blackburn doesn't want to give the No. 6 pick more than the No. 7 pick. It's not looking good.

Grade: A-

Why: As expected the show is getting better with each episode. This week's version was very personality based, which is great for Bengals fans and non-Bengals fans alike. Viewers got to know players like Palmer, Chinedum Ndukwe, Chris Henry and Corey Lynch on a more personal level. There were even small details such as how to make a quarterback wristband before game day, which was probably a television first. All and all it was a great job of chronicling the past week in "Bengaldom."

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