The Bengals were the team that finally got Penn State defensive lineman Devon Still out of the green room with the 53rd pick in the NFL draft, ending a surprising fall for a player who was regarded by many as a first-round talent. So why did Still fall so far?
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis was blunt in his assessment of Still when asked about that during ESPN’s draft broadcast: Lewis said Still needs to take it upon himself to go hard on every play, because NFL scouts didn’t see that from him in college.
“People were questioning the consistency of his play,” Lewis said. “You have to play hard every snap and we’ve got to get that consistency out of him.”
Lewis’s comments echo those of Bengals defensive line coach Jay Hayes, who said he thinks that as a rookie, Still will get about 15 to 20 snaps a game in the defensive line rotation. In college Still averaged 55 snaps a game, and he said playing less in the NFL will help him to have a higher motor when he is on the field.
“That’s a lot of plays; especially at the college level and being in the conference I played in,” Still said. “I actually think playing [fewer] snaps will help my burst out. Help me make more of an impact.”
It’s not exactly the most inspiring comment to hear a player talking about wanting to be on the field for fewer snaps, but every NFL team rotates its defensive line, and if fewer snaps are what it takes to get the best out of Still, that could be a case of getting more with less.