Cincinnati Bengals

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5 most interesting prospects at Bengals local workout

The Cincinnati Bengals are going to get an up-close look at more than three-dozen players from local high schools or colleges Tuesday at Paul Brown Stadium.

Here are five most worth keeping an eye on for one reason or another:

Jerome Baker, Ohio State linebacker

This Cleveland native became a tantalizing prospect during a very productive sophomore season. His junior campaign was less impressive, so his  stock likely varies from team to team. 

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 26: Jerome Baker #17 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs with the ball after intercepting a pass during the second half against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

There's always a spot for a guy with a big frame who can run, though, and if concerns about his consistency and physicality drop him on some draft boards, well, that's often when the Bengals are happy to strike a little later in the draft.

Heath Harding, Miami University cornerback 

The Dayton Christian product’s measurables (5-foot-10, 188 lbs.)  probably will mean he has to wait a while to hear his name called in the draft, but Harding's college production and demeanor make him a classic sleeper prospect. 

He could spend a long time in the league as a solid defensive back and special teamer at worst.

Harding is also regarded as a great locker room presence who was known as "The Mayor" in Oxford.

Tegray Scales, Indiana linebacker

Cincinnati Colerain High School graduate might be a little small to play inside in the NFL (6-0, 230), but he showed great football sense while making an immediate impact in Bloomington.

Scales jumps off the screen when you watch the Hoosiers, and his statistical production is hard to ignore (46 career tackles for loss, 17 sacks, eight interceptions). 

J.T. Barrett, Ohio State quarterback

The smasher of Big Ten records projects as a great long-term backup because he is is an intelligent, hard worker who will do everything a coach asks of him.

His passing accuracy waned after his freshman year, but one has to wonder if playing in a different offense and getting to concentrate solely on football will make him a more consistent decision maker and passer.

READ MORE: The Curious Case of J.T. Barrett and the NFL draft

Malik Zaire, Notre Dame/Florida quarterback

What might have been for this four-star recruit from Alter High School? 

Alter's Malik Zaire (5) makes a cut en route to a touchdown while Badin's Jack Fetters is in pursuit Sept. 24, 2011, at Virgil Schwarm Stadium in Hamilton. Alter and Badin are both moving up to Division III in football in the fall thanks to the Ohio High School Athletic Association's new competitive balance regulations. JOURNAL-NEWS FILE PHOTO

He looked like a difference-maker both in terms of talent and leadership at Notre Dame, but a broken ankle ended what was to be his first season as a starter in South Bend. After DeShone Kizer got most of the playing time at QB the following season, Zaire transferred to Florida for his senior season only to find a mess in Gainesville, where playing time was sparse and the head coach was eventually fired.

The left-hander is unlikely to be drafted, but he could get a preseason camp invite if a team wants to see what potential might still be there to unlock.

READ MORE: Cincinnati Bengals announce local player workout

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About the Author

Marcus Hartman has been a digital sports columnist and reporter at Cox Media Group Ohio since 2016. 

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