Germaine Pratt Jersey

North Carolina State's Nick McCloud (21) and Stephen Louis (12) congratulate Germaine Pratt (3) following Pratt's touchdown against Louisville during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. North Carolina State won 39-25. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

The Bengals selected NC State linebacker Germaine Pratt with the 72nd pick of the third round in the 2019 NFL Draft. Here are some quick facts about the newest member of the Bengals defense.

A Converted Safety – Pratt, a 6-2, 240-pound linebacker played safety during his first two years at N.C. State before making the move to linebacker. Pratt finished the 2018 season with 104 tackles, a team-high 10.5 for loss and six sacks. He skipped his team’s bowl game to get healthy and focus on the NFL draft.

Combine Darling – Pratt dominated at the combine and pro day running a 4.57 40-yard dash which ranked seventh for all linebackers. He recorded 24 bench press reps which was sixth for all linebackers, a 32.5” vertical jump and a 116” broad jump.

Strong In Coverage – Pratt’s pass coverage was felt across the board, with opposing quarterbacks only registering a 45.4 passer rating when he was in coverage, per Pro Football Focus. Pratt only missed four tackles all year and had the ninth-best run-stop percentage at 13.4 percent for all linebackers in the country.

The Cincinnati Bengals selected N.C. State linebacker Germaine Pratt with the 72nd pick of the third round in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Pratt, a 6-2, 240-pound linebacker played safety during his first two years at N.C. State before making the move to linebacker.

Pratt finished the 2018 season with 104 tackles, a team-high 10.5 for loss and six sacks. He skipped his team’s bowl game to get healthy and focus on the NFL draft.

NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein wrote: “Free safety-turned-linebacker with good cover skills who has filled out his frame and checks the size and speed boxes, but Pratt is still in the process of learning to man his position. He plays upright in space and is unorthodox and inconsistent in taking on blocks and finding his run fits.”

He was initially projected to be drafted in the fourth round.

“We feel like he can play all three (linebacker) spots,” Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo told reporters “He’s a guy that brings size, speed and very long arms, which is good for a linebacker to shed blocks.”

Pratt was the second N.C. State player picked in the 2019 NFL draft. N.C. State offensive lineman Garrett Bradbury was selected No. 18 overall in the first round on Thursday.

Drew Sample Jersey

The Washington tight end at No. 52 in the second round was an unexpected move based on the general non-NFL consensus. So much so, in fact, Sample and his reps were also surprised.

Which is what tends to happen when a team takes a tight end primarily known for his blocking and boasts a career-high of just 25 receptions on a season in the second round.

But Taylor was blunt with the media about the move after the draft:

“There’s not too many details. I don’t think we would have gotten him in the third round. The more you watch the tape on him, he is a physical, does-it-the-way-you-want-it player. You look at his passing stats and say, ‘What’s up with that?’ But he does what you need him to do on first and second down in the passing game. It’s hard to find tight ends that are that physical and hard-nosed in the run game right now.”

Perhaps more notably, Taylor was short and sweet when asked how he feels if people outside his war room don’t like a move: “Nothing. We got a guy that we’re excited about and made our team better. That is going to come in all areas of football, we all know that. You can’t get caught up in that. That’s a guy we identified and liked and felt like we needed to go get.”

At the least, it is nice to see a Bengals coach identify what players he wants and go out and get them without hesitation. This is a much more in-depth explanation than fans would have received in the past, which is a nice bonus.

The reality is nobody knows for sure how Sample will play out and won’t for a few years. Taylor and his coaches are adamant Sample is much more than meets the eye, and no, he probably isn’t too worried if outsiders disagree.

Jonah Williams Jersey

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — No one can accuse Jonah Williams of being a sore loser. Frankly, it’s impossible to know for sure because he’s had precious few opportunities to taste defeat.

Over his past six football seasons, Williams’ teams have posted a gaudy 86-5 record. His Folsom (California) High School squad went 45-2 over three years with a state championship and two losses in the state semifinals.

Alabama posted a 41-3 mark with a national championship in 2017 bookended by a pair of losses to Clemson in the title game during his three seasons with the Crimson Tide.

No matter the competition, Williams simply refuses to lose.

So when he was surprisingly challenged to a staring contest by one of the team representatives during the dog-and-pony interview segment at the NFL combine last month, Williams, shall we say, didn’t bat an eye.

“That was pretty interesting,” Williams said in a USA Today interview. “I wasn’t expecting that. I didn’t have my eye drops prepared for that. They called it a tie, actually, so I didn’t lose. Neither of us were blinking.”

Despite his ocular mastery, all eyes will were squarely on Williams Thursday night during the opening round of the NFL draft proceedings.

Considered as one of the top three offensive linemen available along with Washington State’s Andre Dillard and Florida’s Jawaan Taylor, Williams’ competitive nature prompted him to desire top billing among his peers at his position.

Williams was selected 11th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals — the second Alabama player to be picked after Quinnen Williams was taken No. 3 by the New York Jets.

“It’s exciting to finally know where I’m going and I couldn’t be more happy,” Williams said. “I’m ready to take this next step. They’re getting a guy who is competitive and will always prepare. That’s something that I learned while at Alabama.”

The journey from California to Tuscaloosa and now to Cincinnati is the culmination of a dream for Williams.

“This is something I’ve dreamed about since I was young, imagining how this moment might feel,” Williams said. “Honestly, it’s as much relief as it is joy. I miss the structure of being a part of a team, and I’ve sort of been a mercenary since preparing for the draft. I’m looking forward to getting back at it with my new teammates.”

“If I don’t end up being first, I’m going to be ticked to myself,” Williams said before the draft. “Whichever team picks me is giving me an opportunity to prove whoever wrong and come win games with their organization.

“I’m excited just to go do that. I’m not going to whine and complain about things I can’t control. I’m just going to get to work and play the sport I’m drafted to play. That is what it’s all about at the end of the day. All this other stuff is hoopla.”

The Bengals can rest assured they are getting a master at his craft. A voracious student of film study, the 6-foot-4, 303-pound lineman has a reputation for his preparation as well as his technical skills.

Freshmen aren’t typically given starting assignments at Alabama, but Williams enrolled early and got the first-team nod at right tackle for every game of the 2016 season.

He moved to left tackle his sophomore year after Cam Robinson graduated, and Williams finished his Crimson Tide career starting all of his 44 games.