NFL’s worst team the Cincinnati Bengals look to Canada for possible roster improvements

The Cincinnati Bengals are the worst team in the NFL and could certainly use upgrades in many areas of their roster.

There were seven CFL players at 1 Paul Brown Stadium address on Monday for workouts in front of Bengals’ personnel men and coaches: receiver Reggie Begelton, linebacker Derrick Moncrief, defensive backs Nick Marshall, Winston Rose, Marcus Sayles, punter Richie Leone and kicker Lewis Ward.

Begelton put up 1,444 receiving yards (third most in the CFL) and 10 touchdowns on 102 catches — earning Calgary’s Most Outstanding Player award. He was a CFL all-star in 2019 and has drawn lots of NFL interest.

Moncrief was league all-star at strong-side linebacker. He recorded 69 tackles, four sacks, three interceptions and forced one fumble in 17 starts for the Riders. After two seasons at Oklahoma State University, Moncrief went overlooked by the NFL in 2017. However, the 26-year-old has worked out for the Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders and now Cincinnati.

Marshall started 17 games for Saskatchewan at the weak-side cornerback spot, recording 39 tackles, five interceptions with one returned for a touchdown. Rose and Tre Roberson were voted West Division and league all-stars over Marshall. Regardless of accolades the six-foot-one, 207 pounder is a highly skilled cover man.

The 27-year-old signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015 and played in 13 games during his rookie year. He recorded 13 tackles with one pass knockdown while returning 13 kicks for 346 yards and five punts for 30 yards.

The New York Jets signed Marshall away from the Jags practice squad in 2016 and he suited up in eight games for gang green. Marshall made five tackles, returned 12 kicks for 228 yards and six punts for 39 yards.

Rose recorded a league-high nine interceptions helping lock down the boundary side of Winnipeg’s secondary in 2019 en route to being named a CFL all-star. He spent 2016 training camp with the Indianapolis Colts, playing in three pre-season games making one tackle and defending one pass, but Rose was released among final cuts.

Sayles took part in his third NFL workout session in Cincinnati, adding to the Dolphins and Vikings. He was a West Division all-star, producing his best season as a pro with 64 tackles, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, two defensive touchdowns and one sack for the Bombers — part of the Grey Cup-winning group.

Leone earned CFL all-star status punting 132 times for a 48.3-yard average and 39.1-yard net average. The 27-year-old has been in two NFL training camps (Baltimore and Arizona), but each time he was unable to make either roster.

Ward set a CFL single-season record for field goal percentage at 98.1 and that earned him the 2018 CFL Most Outstanding Special Teams Player award. He has made 92.2 percent of his three-point attempts in 36 CFL games, hitting on 94-of-102 tries with a long of 56 yards.

Remarkably, Ward went unselected in the 2017 CFL draft, but the University of Ottawa product has worked his way to being one of the most accurate kickers in North America. At the same time, garnering attention from multiple NFL teams. Ward worked out for the Minnesota Vikings and has the Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts on deck.

Lots of talent available from Canada to help the lowly Bengals improve.

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