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Thursday, February 20, 2014
Bengals combine Day 1: Who I'm watching

By Coley Harvey

INDIANAPOLIS -- With this post let it be known that the NFL combine has officially begun.

At least it has for me.

Even though players began arriving at the combine Wednesday, Thursday marks the first time they get to speak with media members assembled here at Lucas Oil Stadium. Throughout the day, I hope to hear from a few of the offensive linemen, tight ends, punters and kickers who will make the rounds.

Specifically, when it comes to the Cincinnati Bengals and their draft needs, I'll be on the lookout for offensive linemen. As I've already said this week, for now, offensive line isn't a major position of concern for the Bengals. There are currently a few other positions that require their attention. Having said that, though, if the Bengals aren't able to re-sign unrestricted free-agent offensive tackle Anthony Collins, that could all change. That's the main reason I'll be keeping an eye on some of the offensive linemen.

It might be worthwhile to keep tabs on tight ends, too. With Alex Smith also set to enter free agency next month, the Bengals could have a spot available for another to join the likes of Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert. That's especially the case since it appears the Bengals will keep one-time tight end Orson Charles at H-back, and forgo using him as a backup pass-catcher.

When it comes to offensive linemen, specifically I'm looking at linemen who have run-blocking backgrounds. The reason? New offensive coordinator Hue Jackson's push for a more physical scheme that will use the run to get action flowing. Specifically I'll be keeping an eye on offensive tackles since that position would be most directly impacted if Collins isn't re-signed. Versatile linemen, particularly those who could play left guard, are ones to pay attention to, as well.

Here's a rundown of a few names I'll be watching: