When trying to assess if an undrafted rookie will make the Bengals’ 53-man roster in September, the first place to look would be linebacker. Of the six linebackers who were on the roster when last season ended, four were undrafted players – including Vontaze Burfict and Emmanuel Lamur.

Of the early favorites to look to this year, the one that is receiving the most attention is Jayson DiManche. During the first two days of the rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium, DiManche has been playing the strong-side spot as he begins to learn the playbook.

“The first couple days have gone pretty good. It took awhile to learn installation on the first day, but we’re starting to learn it now as a group and starting to run quicker,” DiManche said following one of Saturday’s practices.

The Bengals had DiManche in for a visit the week before the draft but took only one linebacker among their 10 selections. Within an hour after the draft ended, he had agreed to terms even though the Jaguars had also been expressing interest leading up to the draft.

Besides having a chance to make the roster, the signing bonus that the Bengals offered put them over the top. According to various reports, DiManche’s signing bonus is believed to be tied for the second-highest given to an undrafted free agent this year. Broncos linebacker Lerentee McCray received $17,000 while DiManche, Giants receiver Marcus Davis and Buccaneers cornerback Deveron Carr each received $15,000.

DiManche’s biggest strength is his quickness and acceleration. He excelled as a pass rusher at Southern Illinois with a school-record 38 tackles for loss in three seasons and 16.5 sacks, which ranks seventh in school history. Last season he had 49 tackles, eight sacks and 15 tackles for loss.