For the first time since he signed with the Bengals, J.K. Schaffer is getting an opportunity this weekend at the rookie minicamp to show coaches what he can bring to the roster.

Calling the defensive signals at middle linebacker, the former La Salle High and UC standout is one of four players who are allowed to participate in this weekend’s sessions because he is classified as a first-year player and was not active for a game last year. Schaffer, who was with Jacksonville last preseason, was one of the Jaguars’ final roster cuts and was not signed to the Bengals’ practice squad until midseason.

Schaffer compared last season to being redshirted, but said he gained some patience and took it as a year of development.

“It’s good to have him in there. He should have been at last year’s camp, and life would be a little higher than it is right now,” said coach Marvin Lewis with a bit of a laugh.

Althought it is his first extensive on-field work, Schaffer should have a little bit of an advantage when OTAs begin May 20 as far as being comfortable with the scheme. Besides Schaffer, defensive end DeQuin Evans, linebacker Brandon Joiner and tight end Bryce Davis are the other first-year players who are participating this weekend.