CFA class announced
By GEOFF HOBSON
May 2, 2008 Updated 10:50 a.m.
As the Bengals opened rookie camp Friday in a morning practice, they announced their class of eight college free agents that include Alabama cornerback Simeon Castille and Western Michigan tackle James Blair
After wearing USC's famous No. 55, No. 1 pick Keith Rivers surfaced in No. 58 for his first Bengals workout and in the early drills appeared to be working at outside linebacker.
Other numbers of note: Third-round pick Pat Sims, Auburn defensive tackle, wore Justin Smith's old No. 90, and Fresno State defensive tackle Jason Shirley, the fifth-rounder, had No. 99. The drafted wide receivers got some good numbers. Second-rounder Jerome Simpson wore No. 89 and third-rounder Andre Caldwell had 87.
Notable veterans taking in Friday's minicamp practice included quarterback Carson Palmer, who was there to check out "little" brother Jordan, and new tight end Ben Utecht.
The Bengals and other clubs apparently mulled taking the 6-0, 195-pound Castille late in the draft and he could end up playing both corner and safety after grabbing 12 interceptions as a two-year starter.
Blair, a 6-3, 323-pound right, tackle started 22 games the last two seasons but he has the kind of size the Bengals like to put guard.
The rookies have four more workouts scheduled before going back home. They practice Friday afternoon, twice Saturday and once Sunday morning.
In order to fill out the camp, the Bengals have brought a raft of tryout players to Paul Brown Stadium and anywhere from one to six players could get signed to a two-year deal the original eight college free agents have signed. Kentucky receiver Glenn Holt parlayed a tryout into a roster spot for the last two seasons.
Seven of the tryout players have local/regional connections:
Quarterback Jeff Smith, who signed with the team last year and got cut in training camp, played at Georgetown College in Kentucky and Newport (Ky.) Catholic High School.
Cornerback Clay Hamblen and wide receiver Brian Piper are also from Georgetown and Piper played at Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky.
Boston College offensive lineman Tom Anevski played at Cincinnati's Elder High School. Running back Greg Moore and safety Anthony Williams are from the University of Cincinnati and Moore is out of Dayton, Ohio's Trotwood Madison High School.
Alabama State running back Jay Peck prepped in Columbus, Ohio at Brookhaven High School.
The CFA class is smaller than usual because with the death of NFL Europe there are no exemptions for a roster of 80.
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