Sunday, April 27, 2003

Bengals all offense on Day 1


Lineman, receiver too good to pass up

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Marvin Lewis, a defensive mastermind overseeing his first draft as a head coach, used all three of his first-day picks on offensive players Saturday.

Several predraft analyses had all three players as consensus first-round picks.

After signing quarterback Carson Palmer on Thursday and taking him as the first overall pick, the Bengals followed up on Saturday by taking Iowa guard Eric Steinbach in the second round and Tennessee wide receiver Kelley Washington in the third.

The Sports Xchange had Palmer rated No. 1, Steinbach 12 and Washington 22. ESPN.com had Palmer at 4, Steinbach 13 and Washington 27. Draft Insiders' Digest had Palmer 2, Steinbach 14 and Washington 26.

The Day 1 haul has potential to be as productive as any in franchise history.

Steinbach addresses a need in the interior offensive line and is expected to compete for a starting guard position, but a decision on his spot won't come until after the draft. The Bengals were believed to still be in the hunt for free agent center Gennaro DiNapoli (Titans). There appears to be little interest in re-signing former Bengals starting center Rich Braham.

Washington is the speed receiver Lewis wanted to complement Chad Johnson, and he will compete for playing time at the second receiving position.

Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski could hardly contain his smile while talking about Washington.

"I think it goes in line with what Coach Lewis said from the beginning," Bratkowski said. "He wanted to take what was deemed the best player left on the board. It's just so happened that the second and third picks were offensive players."

A draft-record 11 defensive linemen were selected in the first round, pushing Steinbach into Round 2.

At 6-feet-6 and 297 pounds, Steinbach can play guard, center and tackle. He was taught by Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz - a former NFL offensive line coach.

"For whatever reason, he was still there," Lewis said.

Lewis said the Bengals considered trading up and down from the first pick in the second round, No. 33 overall, that yielded Steinbach.

As far as moving up into the first round, Lewis said, "What others were wanting price-wise got to be too steep."

Lewis said the Bengals wanted three players who were drafted in the early 20s of the first round but wouldn't identify them. Center Jeff Faine, who went to Cleveland at No. 21, and defensive tackle William Joseph (No. 25 to the Giants) were believed to be two players the Bengals wanted.

Paul Alexander, Bengals offensive line/assistant head coach, said Steinbach - who turned 23 on April 4 - is extremely athletic for his size.

"He's a very productive player now, not really going to take a lot of development," Alexander said.

Washington, projected as a first-round pick on many boards, slid to No. 65, at the top of the third round. The Bengals wasted little time in calling his name.

Washington, who will turn 24 in August, played two seasons in college for Tennessee. After an impressive freshman season in 2001 - 64 receptions, 1,010 yards and five touchdowns - he suffered a whiplash-type neck injury that created a bone spur. Washington had surgery on Nov. 20 and was cleared in two medical examinations.

Washington, who played four seasons of minor-league baseball in the Florida Marlins' system, had 23 receptions in four games in 2002.

The Bengals, who timed Washington at 4.35 and 4.38 in the 40-yard dash, envision him playing opposite Johnson. Bratkowski said opposing teams rolled their defenses onto Johnson last season to try to neutralize his big-play ability.

"I don't think we're going to say that anyone is going to be an immediate starter," Bratkowski said of Washington. "I do expect him to challenge for a starting position."

Washington is 6-2, 223 pounds and is physical enough to make catches in traffic.

E-mail mcurnutte@enquirer.com




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

NFL DRAFT
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

SUNDAY BASEBALL
Reds 7, Padres 5
Sunday Box, Runs
Phillies' Millwood no-hits Giants

SATURDAY BASEBALL
Reds 7, Padres 6
Photo gallery | Box, Runs
Kearns shows power, promise and poise
Reds E-Mail: Boone genius or time to go?
Reds Chatter
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

KENTUCKY DERBY
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

XAVIER BASKETBALL
DAUGHERTY: Let's hope XU reason kids come
What's the motta with Matta?

UC FOOTBALL
UC defense bares teeth
Three UC players picked in NFL draft

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Lesser-known Buckeyes star in spring game
UK unveils two-headed QB

NBA PLAYOFFS
NBA: Jazz not ready to crown Kings

NHL PLAYOFFS
NHL: Ducks take 2-0 lead on Stars

LOCAL SPORTS
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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