If the Bengals are indeed in the market for a wide receiver in next month’s draft at No. 17 or No. 21, they look to have another first-round option after Baylor’s Kendall Wright ran a 4.3-second 40-yard dash at his pro workout Wednesday in Waco, Texas.
Wright fell over the side last month at the scouting combine when he ran 4.61 seconds, which mystified teams because it didn’t match how fast he played on tape.
Now Wright seems all right. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said on the air he’d be stunned now if Wright fell out of the top 20 and ESPN’s Todd McShay said on the ESPN Chicago blog that the 40 “helps you kind of solidify the fact he’s one of the top two or three receivers in the draft.”
NFL.com’s Gil Brandt observed on his blog after he watched Wright catch balls from Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, “Everybody ‘oohed and ahhed’ at some (of) the catches that Kendall Wright made. The thing about him is, you can’t throw the ball over his head on deep routes. But he’s a very, very athletic guy who’s very strong.”
The Bears are apparently all over Wright and there were tweets Wednesday saying he won’t get past Chicago at No. 19. In the Bengals.com Media Mock Draft held this past weekend, the Bears took Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd and Wright was still on the board for the Bengals.
Speaking of receivers, former Bengal Andre Caldwell also helped his stock Wednesday when he became the first receiver recruited to Hall of Famer Peyton Manning’s stable in Denver with a two-year deal. Caldwell was never really right last season after a groin injury in training camp and the additions of slot receivers Jordan Shipley, Andrew Hawkins and Ryan Whalen made him expendable.
He’s a relliable and smart player, a good route-runner and a good blocker. He caught 124 balls in four years, but will always be remembered for two he caught within 21 days from Carson Palmer; TDs in the last minute to beat Pittsburgh and Baltimore to help the ’09 AFC North sweep possible. And Caldwell’s five-yard TD catch with 10:52 left in Tennessee last year brought the Bengals from behind in the win that ended up putting them in the playoffs.
Tags: Andre Caldwell, Carson Palmer, Gil Brandt, Kendall Wright, Mike Mayock, Peyton Manning, Todd McShay
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The Thursday scuttlebutt spilling around the draft’s quarterbacks is that two guys the Bengals reportedly like and are working out this weekend, TCU’s Andy Dalton and Florida State’s Christian Ponder, are going to be gone in the first round and that Cincinnati has no shot to get them if they don’t trade back up into the first round from the 35th pick.
That is, of course, if they don’t take Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert at No. 4, the two quarterbacks that the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock calls the “cleanest” of the top prospects.
In Wednesday’s conference call, Mayock said because of the Bengals vacuum at quarterback, “If you believe any one of those kids is the right guy you’ve got to take him over anybody else in the draft.” And that means wide receiver A.J. Green and SAM backer Von Miller.
But Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King has had people telling him that offensive coordinator Jay Gruden loves Dalton and King is theorizing that Jon Gruden is telling his brother to convince Bengals president Mike Brown to do anything he can to trade up from 35 to get him.
Dalton may be the hot guy among the media and in some teams, but there are also people in the NFL that think he’s still the third-round pick he was when this process started. One thing that probably means nothing but is interesting to keep in mind is how the Bengals have always taken tall, big quarterbacks at the top of the draft. Dalton, a shade under 6-2, doesn’t exactly fit the mold.
Look at the guys they’ve taken in the first round and second round going all the way back to the University of Cincinnati’s Greg Cook in 1969. Cook was 6-4, 220 pounds. In 1979, Jack Thompson was 6-3, 217. In 1984, Boomer Esiason was 6-5, 224 pounds. In 1992 David Klinger was 6-3, 210 pounds. In 1999 Akili Smith was 6-3, 220, and in 2003 Carson Palmer was 6-5, 230.
Dalton stands something like 6-1 and 7/8, and he’s listed in most places at 6-2, 213. Only Klinger weighed less. But the body dimensions he comes closest to is the Bengals’ best, third-rounder Ken Anderson, a 6-2, 212-pounder.
Probably means nothing, but what means something is that guys like Maycock haven’t really been able to separate Ponder, Dalton, Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett. A lot of scouts say in years there was free agency before the draft, those guys would have been second- or third-rounders.
“I think there’s panic amongst the teams that need quarterbacks, and ultimately would it make sense for the Vikings to have a Kevin Kolb or a (Marc) Bulger or a (Donovan) McNabb or a Palmer if he was available?” Mayock asked. “Maybe, because I think the worst thing you can do is reach for a quarterback and miss.”
Mayock thinks teams are going to be reaching.
“If you’re not going to take Ryan Mallet because of off the field considerations, then you’re going to reach for a guy that you’re going to have to develop at some point,” he said. “And can you come back in the second round and get a guy or trade back into the first and get a Dalton or get a (Ricky) Stanzi or get a Ponder. And in all honesty, they’ve got great intangibles, but they don’t have the same physical characteristics of the other guys.”
Tags: 2011 NFL Draft, Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder, Jake Locker, Mike Mayock, QB scuttlebutt, Ryan Mallett
Posted in Hobson's Choice | 23 Comments »