Potential Bengals draft picks playing in today’s bowl games

Published: Friday, December 29, 2017 @ 10:16 AM


            COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 7: Sam Hubbard #6 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after making a tackle for a loss in the second quarter against the Maryland Terrapins at Ohio Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 7: Sam Hubbard #6 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after making a tackle for a loss in the second quarter against the Maryland Terrapins at Ohio Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Bengals currently are positioned to pick 10th in the 2018 NFL Draft, but they could wind up anywhere between sixth and 12th depending on the outcome of the Week 17 games.

Through Jan. 1 we’ll take a look at the top draft prospects who are playing in that day’s bowl games, players the Bengals could target in the first three rounds.

Today’s slate of bowl games includes:

Belk Bowl, Wake Forest (7-5) vs. Texas A&M (7-5), 1 p.m.

Sun Bowl, N.C. State (8-4) vs. Arizona State (7-5), 3 p.m.

Music City Bowl, Kentucky (7-5) vs. Northwestern (9-3), 4:30 p.m.

Arizona Bowl, New Mexico State (6-6) vs. Utah State (6-6), 5:30 p.m.

Cotton Bowl, USC (10-2) vs. Ohio State (11-2), 8:30 p.m.

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Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky, 6-5, 230 (junior)

Terrific edge rusher in college, but he’ll need to improve size, technique.

Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State, 6-2, 227

Size is deceiving as he’s more of a quick-footed back than a bruiser.

Jerome Baker, ILB, Ohio State, 6-1, 225

The defensive coordinator who lands Baker will have lots of choices on how to use him.

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Dante Booker, OLB, Ohio State, 6-3, 233

He’s never played a full season for the Buckeyes but could be a second-day pick.

Deontay Burnett, WR, USC, 6-0, 170 (junior)

Locked behind JuJu Smith-Schuster and Adoree Jackson earlier in this career, Burnett has emerged as a star in 2017.

Bradley Chubb, OLB, N.C. State, 6-3, 273

Likely to be a Top 10 pick and immediate starter in the NFL.

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Sam Darnold, QB, USC, 6-4, 225 (sophomore)

Could be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft … if he elects to come out.

Duke Ejiofor, DL, Wake Forest, 6-4, 270

Might be a better fit at linebacker due to his lack of size.

Ryan Finley, QB, N.C. State, 6-4, 205 (junior)

He doesn’t get the attention of some of the other quarterbacks available, but there is a lot to like about the 23-year-old.

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Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State, 6-5, 266

Could the Bengals take him on the second day and keep the Cincinnati native (Moeller) in Ohio?

Godwin Igwebulke, S, Northwestern, 6-0, 200

A solid tackler but still needs work in the pass game and could slide to Day 3.

Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State, 6-3, 295 (sophomore)

A bit unsung on the impressive OSU defensive line, but Jones has a lot of upside.

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Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State, 6-5, 310

With impressive athleticism for his size, Jones could slide into the first round with a solid Combine performance.

Ronald Jones, RB, USC, 6-1, 195 (junior)

Tough and quick, Jones projects as a mid-first rounder, which probably doesn’t make him a fit for the Bengals.

Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M, 5-11, 201 (junior)

Elite speed should make him a first-round pick, along with his dynamic ability as a returner.

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Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State, 6-3, 260

A little stiff for an end, Lewis still collected 6.5 sacks in his rotation with Hubbard and Nick Bosa.

Uchenna Nwosu, OLB, USC, 6-3, 235

He can rush off the edge (7.5 sacks) or drop into coverage (one interception, 13 passes defended).

Billy Price, C/G, Ohio State, 6-3, 315

Unclear if he’ll play center or guard, but he should go in the first round and be ready to start right away.

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Will Richardson, OT, N.C. State, 6-6, 332 (junior)

He’s a top-20 tackle but could be a top-20 pick in 2019 if he stays for his senior year.

Jaylen Samuels, TE, N.C., State, 5-11, 236

A more athletic version of another H-back/tight end from Stanford, the Bengals’ Ryan Hewitt.

Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State, 6-6, 215

An under-the-radar prospect who can really boost his stock with strong performances in his bowl game and the Senior Bowl.

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Cameron Smith, ILB, USC, 6-2, 246 (junior)

Gifted with instincts, intelligence and athleticism, he should go somewhere in the middle of the first round.

Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State, 5-11, 184

Another in the long-list of first-round corners for the Buckeyes, and the Bengals.

Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M, 5-11, 2000

A ball hawk who makes up for a lack of speed with great instincts.

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Newest Dayton basketball recruit is a triplet

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 2:39 PM

The opening tipoff of Dayton against Austin Peay on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, at UD Arena.
David Jablonski
The opening tipoff of Dayton against Austin Peay on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, at UD Arena.(David Jablonski)

The newest Dayton Flyers recruit, Frankie Policelli, turned 18 last week, his dad Frank said, and like every other birthday in his life, Frankie shared it with two other members of his family: his brother Niko and sister Amber.

The Policellis are triplets.

“It’s been quite an exciting, fast 18 years, I tell you that much,” said Frank Policelli, an attorney in Utica, N.Y.

Frankie wrote the latest chapter in that story Monday, announcing his verbal commitment to the Dayton Flyers. He’s the third member of UD’s 2018 recruiting class along with Dwayne Cohill and Jhery Matos. Dayton now has nine scholarship players on the roster for the 2018-19 season and has the opportunity to add as many as four more as recruiting continues in the weeks ahead.

» RELATED: Former Dayton forward heading to Akron

Frank described his son’s recruiting process as intense. Policelli, a 6-foot-8 small forward who is bordering on 6-9, according to his coaches, had scholarship offers from Cincinnati Maryland, Illinois, Texas Tech and others.

“He was making a big decision,” Frank said. “You have to consider a lot of factors. There’s a lot of variables. At the end of the day, this was the best option for him to pursue. You want to have the balance of a good education and a good basketball opportunity at the same time. Dayton had the best offer for him from both a basketball and educational point of view.”

Here’s a quick glance at other reacts and comments to Policelli’s commitment:

John Buck, Long Island Lutheran head coach: "He’s explosive,” Buck said. “He really shoots the ball well. He can get hot. He had games where he hit 6, 7 and 8 3s for us in different games. He rebounds the ball. He’s just a really, humble, selfless kid."

» UPDATE: What the Dayton roster looks like now

Buck said Policelli averaged 12.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as a senior. He shot 40 percent from 3-point range and 86 percent from the free-throw line.

“He’s playing with five other Division I players,” Buck said. “Twelve points a game is not 12 points a game at your local public school.”

Jay David, New York Jayhawks executive director and Long Island Lutheran assistant coach: “He’s an amazing kid,” David said, “a great person off the floor, and I think with Dayton, they’re getting a kid who’s just now scratching the surface, similar with Obadiah (Toppin) when he went to Dayton. Frankie is 6-8, 6-9, a lefty shooter, a really strong kid — or will be a really strong kid — and brings a lot of positives to a program. He’s high character. Basketball wise, it’s a great fit for him. They really wanted him there. He felt comfortable with coach (Anthony) Grant, and I think he’s going to grow there.”

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Sports Today: Reds get some managerial magic for at least one night

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 9:50 AM

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 23: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds singles to drive in a run in the eighth inning of a game against the Atlanta Braves at Great American Ball Park on April 23, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 10-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 23: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds singles to drive in a run in the eighth inning of a game against the Atlanta Braves at Great American Ball Park on April 23, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 10-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Chalk one up for Jim Riggleman. 

The interim manager of the Cincinnati Reds moved Scott Schebler up to the leadoff spot, and the offense promptly exploded for 10 runs in a victory over the Braves

Schebler was a big part of it, going 2 fo 5 with three RBIs and three runs scored. 

He hit the first Reds home run in a week and made Riggleman look pretty smart. 

Not that I get the impression that was what the skipper was really going for: 

“We’re 3-and-whatever we are,” Riggleman said before the game. “We’ve got to try anything.”

Sometimes managerial magic is interchangeable with luck, and I think we can all agree “anything” is better than the first three weeks of the season for the Reds. 

Riggleman also sounds committed to batting Billy Hamilton ninth until he starts to look like a real major-league hitter, so I guess we can rule out the second coming of Dusty Baker here (old-school baseball man who insists on speed at the top of the lineup regardless of on-base percentage). 

It is amazing how quickly this became a put-up-or-ship-out season for Hamilton, who apparently could have been traded in December and now may have a lot less value after a bad spring and worse start to the regular season. 

Sal Romano pitched six good innings, striking out five and allowing only one earned run, to get his first win of the season. 

More good news: Eugenio Suarez should be back in a Reds uniform soon. The third baseman is scheduled to play in Triple-A for Louisville tonight on a rehab assignment for his fractured thumb. 

It’s probably too late to salvage a .500 record this season, but the Reds offense should look a heck of a lot better with Suarez and Schebler back in the lineup. 

At least management should still get a chance to sort out which of the guys in the majors deserve to be in Cincinnati long term and who can be moved out to make room for youngsters moving up in the improved farm system. 

There was some bad news, though. 

Hunter Greene was knocked around as the Dayton Dragons lost their third straight game. 

The Reds’ most-recent first-round pick took his first loss of the season after failing to get out of the first inning. 

He allowed seven runs, including a grand slam, and recorded only two outs. 

Greene walked three and gave up four hits. 

For what it’s worth, three of the runs charged to Greene scored with Austin Orewiler on the mound in relief. 

I mention that because Greene showed a knack for getting out of trouble in his first two starts. 

If you’re keeping score, he’s gone from great to average to pretty bad in three times out for Dayton. 

PREVIOUSLY: Greene battles elements in second start

Bumps in the road were always to be expected, of course, especially for such a young fella. 

It will be interesting to see how he bounces back and how quickly he can develop a game plan for hitters who are willing to wait for his fastball and can lay off his breaking stuff. 

The Dragons are the definition of streaky so far, having lost three in a row to start the season, won nine and now lost three more in a row… 

Dayton Flyers basketball made news Monday, too, as one player announced he is joining up and another announced where he is going next. 

Frank Policelli, a 6-foot-8 forward from Long Island, will be eligible to help Anthony Grant’s team this fall after verbally committed Monday

He is a three-star top 300 recruit in the 2018 class who played AAU ball with current Flyer Obadiah Toppin. 

» RELATED: Transfer from Vanderbilt joining Dayton women’s program

Meanwhile, Xeyrius Williams revealed he plans to continue his college basketball career at Akron

The former Wayne High School star was a starter two seasons ago but opted to transfer after an injury-plagued junior season. 

At 6-9 with the ability to shoot the three, he could be a force in the MAC -- but not until 2019-20. 

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New Bengals linebacker gets his old jersey number at surprising cost

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 3:18 PM


            ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Preston Brown #52 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates stopping the Atlanta Falcons on fourth and one during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Preston Brown #52 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates stopping the Atlanta Falcons on fourth and one during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

When Preston Brown walked through the Bengals locker room for the first time after signing a one-year, $5 million contract, he noticed his number — 52 — already was assigned to Brandon Bell.

“I’ll have a talk with him and see what we can work out,” Brown said.

But that conversation never happened.

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“When I showed up last week (for the start of voluntary offseason workouts), I already had it,” Brown said.

Bell was just as surprised was Brown, but he said he understood.

“It’s a veteran thing,” Bell said. “I get it. They say we’re still rookies. I don’t mind it too much. It is what it is.”

›› RELATED: Cincinnati Bengals 7-round mock draft

Bell wore 11 in college so he didn’t have an attachment to 52. This year he will wear 51, which belonged to Kevin Minter last year.

Even though Bell didn’t have a say in the swap, Brown said he still plans to thank him.

“I’m going to have to take him out to dinner or something,” Brown said.

›› Bengals 2018 schedule features a number of franchise firsts

“I’ll take him up on that offer,” Bell said. “A nice steak would be great.”

Cordy Glenn, whom the Bengals obtained in a trade with Buffalo last month, also will wear the same No. 77 he wore with the Bills. That number, worn by Andrew Whitworth from 2008-2016, was not assigned to anyone last year.

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Five-run seventh inning carries Reds to fourth win

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 9:55 PM

The Reds celebrate a victory against the Braves on Monday, April 23, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
David Jablonski - Staff Writer
The Reds celebrate a victory against the Braves on Monday, April 23, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

The Cincinnati Reds hit a home run for the first time in eight days. They grabbed a lead for the first time in 50 innings. They scored more than three runs for the first time in a week.

» RELATED: Reds hope to ignite offense with lineup change

Most importantly, the Reds won a game, snapping a five-game losing streak by beating the Atlanta Braves 10-4 on Monday in the opener of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.

With a 4-18 record, the Reds still have the worst record in baseball, and they are still off to their worst start through 22 games in franchise history. This was the first win for interim Reds manager Jim Riggleman, who took the reins after the firing of Bryan Price and was swept in his first series in St. Louis.

“I was involved in a situation in Chicago many years ago where we got off to a horrendous start,” Riggleman said before the game. “I’ve been through it. A great baseball man, Buddy Bell, went through that in Kansas City. I was able to say that to the players. We’ve been through it. We can handle this. You’ve got to handle it. The way to handle it is to get out of it. We’re going to get out of it. Our players are focused and will always be giving a great effort. The sooner the better, of course.”

Here’s a quick recap of the game:

Small crowd: The announced attendance was 9,463, though there were many fewer people in the stands. At the start of the game, there were only four people sitting in the upper deck in left field.

It was the smallest crowd at Great American Ball Park this season and the smallest since Aug. 31, 2009, when a crowd of 9,087 watched the Reds beat the Pirates 6-3. That was the last time the Reds had a crowd smaller than 10,000.

Drought ends: With the Reds down 2-0, Scott Schebler, hitting lead-off for the first time this season, hit a game-tying, two-run home run in the fifth inning. It was the first home run for the Reds since their last home game on April 15 against the Cardinals. They didn’t hit a home run on the six-game road trip that concluded Sunday in St. Louis.

» RELATED: Price says he will keep pulling for Reds

Schebler hopes this victory eases the pressure on the offense, which ranks last in baseball in runs scored.

“It’s one of those things where the whole season it felt like we never had momentum,” Schebler said. “We were great offensively last year, and I full expect us to be like that the rest of the year.”

Big inning: The Reds scored five runs in the sixth. It was only the third time in 22 games they’ve led in the sixth.

Pinch hitter Jesse Winker drove in the go-ahead run with a single. Jose Peraza drove in the second run. Joey Votto walked with the bases loaded to drive in the third run. A single by Scooter Gennett drove in the final two runs.

“We’ve been having a hard time, and I was really proud of the guys,” Riggleman said. “We were down again after losing a lot of ballgames. Then we got it going. (Schebler) had a big hit for us.”

Costly mistake: The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the third thanks to an error by the Reds. Left fielder Adam Duvall’s wild throw to third base got by Cliff Pennington, allowing Dansby Swanson to score with one out.

Power display: Nick Markakis hit a solo home run in the fourth to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. It was the third home run of the season for Markakis.

Missed chance: Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart struck out with the bases loaded to end the first inning.

Quality start: Reds starter Sal Romano (1-2) allowed one earned run on four hits in six innings, lowering his ERA from 5.75 to 4.78. He struck out five and walked one.

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