By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Eric Steinbach thought he would be picked somewhere in the teens in the first round of the NFL Draft. But the first round ended Saturday without his name being called.
The Bengals didn't waste much time calling the All-America guard from Iowa. Team officials were on the phone with Steinbach when Oakland made its Nos. 31 and 32 selections at the end of Round 1.
They called back a few minutes later to welcome him to the Bengals.
POSITION: Offensive guard
SIZE: 6-6, 297
HOMETOWN: New Lenox, Ill.
CAREER NOTES: Former tight end who shifted to offensive line as a sophomore. All-America player as senior on Walter Camp Foundation and Pro Football Weekly teams, all-Big Ten Conference selection, started at left guard for Iowa offense that averaged 432.9 yards a game.
ROOKIE PROJECTION: Will challenge for starting job at one of guard positions.
MORE DETAILS: NFL profile
"I was very surprised," said Steinbach, who is 6-feet-6, 297 pounds. "So I slide out of the first round. I'm very excited to be part of this organization."
But Steinbach, who was rated as the 12th best player overall in the draft by The Sports Xchange, won't be a stranger in Cincinnati. He is a friend of another former Iowa offensive lineman, the Bengals' Mike Goff.
And Steinbach met first-round pick Carson Palmer at the Walter Camp All-America Show in Orlando, Fla. They also met in the Orange Bowl, where Palmer's Southern Cal Trojans defeated Steinbach's Hawkeyes, 38-17.
"Carson is a great guy - stand-up, down to earth," Steinbach said. "I'm going to love blocking for him."
Steinbach could be challenging Goff for the starting job at right guard.
"I have known Mike for a couple of years now," Steinbach said. "... The best part is, I have a mentor and a veteran who has played in this league for a couple of years, and he's going to take the time and sit down and tell me what it takes to play in this league."
Reminded that he could be challenging Goff, Steinbach said, "I think Mike and I have a good enough relationship where the best man wins. It's up to the coaches where they want to put me."
Paul Alexander, the Bengals offensive line/assistant head coach, said coaches would make a decision about Steinbach's future after the draft is complete.
"He played some tackle at the Senior Bowl. He's played tight end. He's played center. Then he moved to guard," Alexander said. "Everywhere he gets thrown in, he does the job. He's going to be a good player."
Steinbach is known for his excellent footwork and hand strength.
The Bengals have not re-signed center Rich Braham, and coach Marvin Lewis said the interior of the line was one of the team's major needs to fill in the offseason.
"As I watched offensive linemen, this was the guy who stood out when you watched the tape and made you excited," Lewis said.
The second round has yielded some of the most productive Bengals since 1992.
In fact, every 1,000-yard rushing and 1,000-yard receiving season the team has had since 1990 has come from a second-round pick: Running backs Harold Green (drafted in 1990 with the 38th overall pick) and Corey Dillon (1997, 43) and receivers Carl Pickens (1992, 31), Darnay Scott (1994, 30) and Chad Johnson (2001, 36).
The Bengals' 1988 Super Bowl team boasted these second-round picks: Quarterback Boomer Esiason (1984), running back Ickey Woods (1988), wide receiver Cris Collinsworth (1981), cornerbacks Lewis Billups (1986) and Eric Thomas (1987) and linebacker Carl Zander (1985).
BENGALS DRAFT ( Complete draft coverage )
Fourth pick Weathersby recovering from gunshot
Bengals all offense on draft's Day 1
Guard Steinbach slips out of first round
Size, speed make WR Washington a threat
Palmer glad fuss is over
Rating the draft: Winners & losers
Draft picks by team | By number
Defensive line dominates first round
Surprise: Browns take center
Ravens, Steelers trade up to fill needs
Three UC players drafted
Five Buckeyes selected
Jets take Colerain grad Askew
Jags get Leftwich; big questions to come
Newman goes to Cowboys
Jets trade up for UK's Robertson
Bad news, good news for Simms
Reds 7, Padres 5
Sunday Box, Runs
Phillies' Millwood no-hits Giants
Reds 7, Padres 6
Photo gallery |
Kearns shows power, promise and poise
Reds E-Mail: Boone genius or time to go?
Solid start relieves Graves
Reds Notebook: Wily Mo gets a start
Reds' Minor League Notebook
Toledo 4, Louisville 0
NL: Dodgers finally get big hit
AL: Angels get lift from Shields
Who's Hot & Who's Not
Fan's guide to the Kentucky Derby
Other Derby Week Events
Where else to go in Louisville
Derby Notebook: New owners for Domestic Dispute
FLYING PIG MARATHON
Flying Pig gets new start
DAUGHERTY: Let's hope XU reason kids come
What's the motta with Matta?
UC defense bares teeth
Three UC players picked in NFL draft
Lesser-known Buckeyes star in spring game
UK unveils two-headed QB
NBA: Jazz not ready to crown Kings
NHL: Ducks take 2-0 lead on Stars
Cyclones go down 3-0 in series
Vogelgesang cracks PBA top 60
College Update: For NKU, winning starts with pitching
Enquirer Power Rankings
Sports on TV-Radio
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Mayo billed as next LeBron
Saturday's High School Results
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