ESPN The Magazine
BY THE END of the combine, it's clear he still hasn't changed. The NFL knows it. The Twitter-verse knows it. Even worse, so does he. "I lost faith in myself," he says. For days afterward, he doesn't leave his apartment. Until Lisa calls and reminds him about his friend Dominic, about the pact he had made with Magee and Lyons, about how good he could be. "You can't quit now," she tells him.
Soon after, Burfict finds a new trainer and starts again. At his first pro day in mid-March, Burfict doesn't do well enough to erase his combine performance, but he still makes a positive impression: He grants interviews to every reporter who asks.
Slider Iloka finds soft landing with Bengals
George Iloka read the reports — including Pro Football Weekly’s — that rated him the third-best safety in the draft.
He was happy with his Combine performance, which was one of the best among the safeties, and felt like he could hear his name early on Friday, certainly by the end of the day when Round Three wrapped up.
There was no call.
“I was definitely disappointed,” Iloka said from his home in Texas. “I kept watching in disbelief.”
Chris Burke, SI
Cincinnati Bengals: If you didn’t buy the Bengals’ rise last season, this should push you over the top. Cincinnati landed potential starters with each of its first nine picks, led by CB Dre Kirkpatrick (17) and G Kevin Zeitler (27), who should be in the lineup from Day One. Grade: A-plus
John Czarnecki, Fox Sports
Based on mock drafts, their first three picks were projected in the first round, including Devon Still, Penn State's gap-quick defensive tackle who was the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. They also took the two players they designated two weeks ago: Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and rugged guard Kevin Zeitler from Wisconsin. Kirkpatrick was rated third at his position and Zeitler should start immediately. ... Then the Bengals satisfied Rutgers receiver Mohamed Sanu, who was crank-called on Thursday by a fan who said the Bengals had drafted him in the first round. Instead, Sanu went 83rd overall. He was a three-year starter and figures to be a slot receiver. ... Clemson defensive tackle Brandon Thompson had second-round talent and was taken 93rd overall. ... Later, they took two solid players in Cal receiver Marvin Jones and 6-foot-4, 225-pound free safety George Iloka, a favorite of Deion Sanders Iloka has the quickness to be put in man coverage. Grade: A
The Meanest Man in College Football: Vontaze Burfict
Will Brinson, CBS Sports
Cincinnati Bengals -- Cincy's run of success is, frankly, shocking. They killed the 2011 draft with A.J. Green and Andy Dalton, then they turned Carson Palmer into a second first-round pick this year. Their first six picks in this draft -- Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin Zeitler, Devon Still, Mohamed Sanu, Brandon Thompson and Orson Charles -- are all arguably first- or second-round value guys. Mike Brown's en fuego and it's no longer looking like anything resembling a fluke, which means the Bengals will challenge in the AFC North again next year.
Josh Katzowitz, CBS Sports: Maybe we were wrong about Mike Brown and the Bengals
Reedy: Meet the 2012 Bengals draft class
"Right now the Bengals are off to the races, arguably the best draft right now in NFL"---Mel Kiper
Video: NFL Network's Mike Mayock praises Bengals for draft
Mel Kiper, ESPN
Summary: The Bengals didn't hit any home runs in value, but as we sat on the set we'd nod to each other with every pick. (How's that for a behind-the-scenes glimpse?) They just crossed off needs, one pick after another. They needed a corner and nabbed Dre Kirkpatrick I think he'd be more of an ace in Cover 2, but he's a good corner and can start immediately. Kevin Zeiterl is a stud at guard, and upgrades a weakness. Devon Still provides immediate depth on the D-line, and Mohamed Sanu will stick. He was hugely productive at Rutgers. Orson Charles is a complete tight end -- he was my No. 5-ranked player at that spot, and the Bengals get him at No. 116. I thought George Iloka was a little overrated, but he's a steal in the sixth round. If he develops as a tackler, he has the upside of a starter. Overall, an excellent draft for Marvin Lewis and the Bengals.
Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
Cincinnati Bengals: A
The Bengals solved two of their biggest areas of concern by landing cornerback 'Dre Kirkpatrick and offensive guard Kevin Zeitler in the first round. They both play with the consistency and physicality that is required in the division. As it turns out, the Bengals were just getting started with what arguably was the best draft enjoyed by any team in 2012. Cincinnati addressed losses along the defensive line in free agency by adding Devon Still (second round) and Brandon Thompson (third), as well as three reliable pass-catchers in Rutgers' wideout Mohamed Sanu (third), Georgia tight end Orson Charles (fourth) and California's Marvin Jones (fifth) in the middle rounds -- prospects who each could filled areas of concern while also ranking among the top prospects available. If there was anything to knock with the Bengals' effort in 2012 it might be that the team only invested their final pick -- No. 191 overall -- in a running back (Ohio State's Dan Herron) and this was perceived to be an area of concern despite the addition of free agent BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Considering the presence of Bernard Scott and the number of talented runners likely to be available as UDFAs, this might be the ideal position to still need as the draft closed.
Don Banks, SI Imagine if you came out of two-year coma on Saturday to discover the Bengals have become one of the best-drafting teams in the NFL. That news might actually stun you back in unconsciousness.
But it's true. The A.J. Green, Andy Dalton haul of last year set a high bar in terms of impact, but there was much more to like in this year's draft. Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler (after a trade down from 21 to 27) in the first round represented strong work. But then to get Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still in the second round, and Rutgers receiver Mohammed Sanu and Clemson defensive tackle Brandon Thompson in the third round put Cincy in the elite class in this year's draft. That's five potential starters who just walked into the door for Marvin Lewis, as well as coordinators Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer.
Undrafted free agents
Burfict to sign with Bengals
Bengals’ coach Marvin Lewis has kept an eye on Burfict since ASU’s Pro Day, the linebacker said. The Bengals were in need of a running back in the sixth round and drafted Ohio State running back Dan Herron with their last pick. Lewis told Burfict he’d give him a call if Burfict wasn’t drafted in the seventh round because the team in thin at linebacker.
And that’s exactly what happened.
“I feel comfortable being coached by him,” Burfict said. “I know that I’m a first, second round pick and the Bengals got a steal in the draft because nobody drafted me.”
Derrius Brooks, CB, Western Kentucky
“They (Bengals) had been calling me towards the end of the draft,” Brooks said. “I told my agent we’ll take what we can get, and it ended up working out perfectly.”
Updated list of undrafted free agents
Julian Miller, DE, West Virginia
Justin Hinton, WR, Indiana St
Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
Tony Dye, S, UCLA
Derrius Brooks, CB, Western Kentucky
Brandon Joiner, DE, Arkansas St
Kashif Moore, WR, UConn
Tyler Hansen, QB, Colorado
Rodney Stewart, RB, Colorado
Bubba Forrest, S, New Mexico
Emmanuel Lamur, S/LB, Kansas State
Ben Bojicic, OL, Bowling Green
Taveon Rogers, WR, New Mexico State
Nathan Dick, QB, Central Arkansas
How about former Bearcat Eric Hicks!
From the Cincinnati Commandos
Tyler Sheehan threw for five touchdowns, including a four yard strike to Eric Hicks, as Cincinnati stayed unbeaten with the 58-38 victory over Marion. Sheehan was 18-of-32 for 268 yards to go along with his touchdowns. His favorite threat, Phillip Barnett, finished with nine catches for 147 yards and four touchdowns.
The win gives Cincinnati a two-game lead in the North standings over Marion and Erie with five games remaining.