Eric Ghiaciuc, a center from Oxford, Mich., was the 119th overall pick going in the fourth round with Adam Kieft, an offensive tackle from Rockford, Mich., going a round later as the 153rd overall selection.
"This has been an amazing day for both my family and myself," Ghiaciuc said. "Cincinnati is a great organization and I am excited to play for them. The Bengals provide me a great opportunity to succeed in the NFL and I am ready for the challenge"
"Right now I am as happy as could be with the chance to play for Cincinnati and in the NFL," Kieft said. "It has been a long, hard road the last few months, but it's been worth it. My family has been awesome during this whole process and I can't thank them enough. Cincinnati is a great organization and I am really ready to contribute however they need me too."
The duo are the first Central Michigan football players drafted by an NFL team since 1997 when Scott Rehberg was taken in the seventh round by New England. Ghiaciuc is the highest pick since Jim Bowman went in the second round during the 1985 NFL draft.
The 1985 draft was also the last time two players from CMU were selected with tailback Curtis Adams going to San Diego in the eighth round that year. CMU has never had two players taken by the same team in one year.
"Playing on the same NFL team as Eric is exciting," Kieft said. "We have a great friendship and really respect each other. Making it in the league will be tough, but having Eric around to help me get through the tough times will make things much easier."
"Adam and I have had a great experience playing together and it is awesome we get to continue that in Cincinnati," Ghiaciuc said. "Adam has been a wonderful friend and teammate these past few years. It is cool to share an experience like this with someone you are so close to."
The connection between CMU and Cincinnati runs deep. Bengals assistant head coach/offensive line coach Paul Alexander was a CMU assistant coach from 1987-91, while CMU's last two NFL linemen, Rehberg and Brock Gutierrez, both spent time with the Bengals during their career.
CMU football head coach Brian Kelly is excited for his former players and how deserving they are for the opportunity to play in the NFL.
"Coming into last season, we didn't know if either Adam or Eric would be draft picks but they have really developed a lot over the past year," Kelly said. "Jeff Quinn, our offensive line coach, did a great job in getting them ready to play at the next level.
"Everyone knows that we are going to develop our players to reach their full potential. What Adam and Eric have done shows that when a player comes to CMU, the dream to play in the NFL stays alive. We work hard to develop players physically and mentally, and our players have the chance to showcase their abilities here at CMU."
When Ghiaciuc was drafted, ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper spoke highly of the Chippewa.
"The kid I like on that panel, Eric Ghiaciuc, the center out of Central Michigan," Kiper said. "Ghiaciuc is athletic, he's got that wrestling background. He can play center or guard. That's a real good pick for Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals."
• Ghiaciuc and Kieft will make a homecoming appearance on Dec. 18 when the Bengals play the Lions at Ford Field. Cincinnati also plays at Chicago on Sept. 25.
• Ghiaciuc was the fourth center selected in the draft. Kieft was the 13th offensive tackle.
Head coach Marvin Lewis
On Ghiaciuc: "Eric is a really fine player. He's an offensive center -- a big man who's very physical, athletic and has a lot of upside. He can come in and learn the NFL game and prosper. We had our eye on him for a while, and we were able to get him."
On Kieft: "In Adam Kieft we have another player who has an opportunity to come in here, learn, and earn a spot in the future. He can be a backup right away and learn from a couple very good offensive tackles (Willie Anderson and Levi Jones). It now gives us a couple guys for the future. Adam's a big man who played left tackle at Central Michigan, and he has a big reach, long wingspan and big, strong hands. He's very strong at the point of attack. We're very excited to add him to the mix."
Q: You like guys who went to the same school:
"I think that's just a coincidence. That's the way it goes. A lot of people felt these two players from Central Michigan (Kieft and Ghiaciuc) were very good players."
Cincinnati offensive line coach Paul Alexander
Q: You know Central Michigan better than anyone. How did you single this guy out and follow him?
"I know all the coaches there, and they know him very well. Everybody speaks highly of him. He's a great student with a 3.6 GPA. Ran 4.9 in the 40-yard dash. A very smart football player. He's a great kid -- he really is -- and we need a center."
Q: You talk about short-area explosion with the nose tackle right on you. How is this guy in that area?
"He's pretty good right now, but he needs to get better. He's a space, quick guy who has good wrestling balance. He's not a big blocky guy, so to speak. He creates movement on big people with his quickness."
Q: He'll be able to handle all the calls?
"Yeah. He's a brilliant guy. Like I stated before, his GPA is something like a 3.6."
Q: Do you expect him to start right away?
"That's up to him. I don't see why he can't. We wouldn't have drafted him if we didn't think he could play right away."
Q: Can he pass block?
"I would hope so. He's a real smart guy -- a strong and very productive player. He played very well against Michigan State, (which is) big competition. You'll like him. He's a good prospect."
Q: Does Kieft get a good punch?
"He's got real strong hands -- a real good punch. He'll be more of a real strong guy than a quick-footed guy. He may be more of a right tackle in pro football, but we'll see. He could play guard."
Q: What's the No. 1 thing he needs to work on?
"Probably just the speed of the guys coming off the edge on him. He wouldn't be the Lone Ranger there. He just needs to play against world-class players. He's a real smart guy. I think his grade point average is 3.3. He's just real smart."
Ghiaciuc and Kieft Both Drafted by Cincinnati
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