The Bengals’ selection of Penn State DT Devon Still fits their profile. They have not taken a defensive lineman in the first round during the Marvin Lewis era, typically addressing the position later in the draft, and with good success. The Bengals’ biggest hits were DTs Geno Atkins (Round Four, 2010) and Domata Peko (Round Four, 2006). DEs Carlos Dunlap (Round Two, 2010) and Michael Johnson (Round Three, 2009) have worked out fairly well, too.
Still (6-5, 303) earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2011 and was regarded as a potential first-round pick, so he could prove a good value if he plays to his potential. Still, Nolan Nawrocki wrote in the 2012 Draft Preview, “(has) clear physical talent to excel as a three-technique if he can learn to play with more consistent pad level and intensity.” Still also got some favorable marks from teams looking for 3-4 ends, Nawrocki wrote.
This could be a good situation for Still. He doesn’t figure to start in Year One, but if he’s active, he’s going to play, because the Bengals rotate their defensive linemen. DL coach Jay Hayes, who has been on Lewis’ coaching staff since the beginning, will be a good teacher for Still.
With three draft picks in the books, the Bengals still haven’t taken a wideout. But given the importance of the defensive line, and given their success adding to that line over the years, this was a logical move.