Mohamed Sanu

Draft Grades: Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals put together the best draft class, at least on paper, that I have ever seen in the nine years I’ve been covering the draft. Of their 10 selections, I gave a 3rd-round grade or better to eight players, and the other two received 4th-round evaluations. This was the best draft class of the year, and there isn’t a close second.

Dre Kirkpatrick was overrated by the media early in the draft process, which created the perception that his stock started to slip during the draft process. He’s not as physical as you’d like, and he’s still developing his coverage technique, but the Bengals have the depth at cornerback to bring him along slowly.

Kevin Zeitler was a reach in the 1st round, especially with Cordy Glenn still on the board. But he does have the ability to step into an immediate starting role at right guard.

Devon Still doesn’t necessarily fill a need, but was a great value pick for the Bengals in the 2nd round. He will back up Geno Atkins and should be used as part of the defensive line rotation from day one.

Mohamed Sanu is one of the more underrated prospects in this draft class and could win a starting job in training camp. Due to ineffective quarterback play at Rutgers, his role was limited to that of a possession receiver, but he has the size and speed to develop into more of a true No. 1. Obviously in Cincinnati he’ll always be the No. 2 behind A.J. Green, but he has more raw talent than most No. 2 receivers.

Brandon Thompson was purely a value pick, especially after they already picked up Still in the 2nd round. He’ll compete for playing time with Domato Peko and Pat Sims in the nose tackle role.

The hype surrounding Orson Charles was purely a media creation, so it was not a surprise to see him fall to the 4th round. And while I think he was one of the most overrated prospects in this draft class, he’s a solid pickup for the Bengals. He’s essentially an oversized receiver, which is exactly the role he’ll play in Cincinnati. He’s not a threat to Jermaine Gresham’s job, but they’ll find ways to work him into the game plan.

Shaun Prater will have to fight hard to earn a spot on the final roster, but could be helped if the Bengals decide to cut ties with Nate Clements. He has the skills to win a job, but the secondary is suddenly very crowded in Cincinnati.

Marvin Jones may prove to be the steal of the draft. He lacks elite athleticism, but makes up for by being one of the most efficient route runners in this year’s class. The difference between him and Sanu is minimal, and Jones may actually be more NFL ready.

George Iloka is built like a strong safety but tackles like a kicker, which lead to his fall. He’s a developmental prospect who probably shouldn’t see the field until he improves his tackling technique, but he definitely had value in the 5th round based on his raw talent.

Boom Herron is to running backs what Marvin Jones is to receivers. He’s not the biggest, strongest or fastest player on the field but he’s smart and gets the job done. The Bengals have a crowded backfield right now, so Herron has his work cut out for him, but don’t be surprised to see him receive some significant carries this season if he impresses during training camp.

From top to bottom this was the strongest draft class. The Bengals landed better players in the 5th and 6th round than some teams landed in the 2nd and 3rd. They upgraded their depth at multiple positions and are now poised to make a serious run at the Steelers and Ravens. If this class pans out as expected, there will be a new powerhouse in the AFC North within the next three years.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bengals, Draft Grades - 2012 Comments Off

Evaluating the top receivers in 2012 draft class

I’ve spent some time over the past couple days going over the top receivers in this year’s draft class. There are five guys who clearly stand out above the rest and, barring any dramatic events in the upcoming months (arrests, injuries, etc), I’ve setting on my rankings for each.

1. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Blackmon is the obvious top choice. He’s a physical freak who has the size and speed to dominate from Day One. The only thing that can keep Blackmon from developing into a Pro Bowl receiver is himself. He was arrested on a DUI charge in 2010, and his effort on the field hasn’t always been 100%. But he appeared to step up his game in 2011, staying out of trouble and staying more focused on the field.

Wright is a legitimate top-20 talent

2. Kendall Wright, Baylor
Michael Floyd and Alshon Jeffery have been No. 2 on most boards throughout the season, but after watching Wright dominate in some of his toughest matchups this season (vs Oklahoma, Texas), I’m bumping him up into this slot. Five years ago it would have been tough to rank Wright this high. But the NFL passing game has been changing in recent years and we’re seeing more undersized receivers emerge as a legitimate No. 1 targets (Mike Wallace, DeSean Jackson, etc). Wright has all the tools necessary to join that group and be a game-changer at the next level.  Read more

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

Mohamed Sanu scouting report

Mohamed Sanu WR Rutgers #
Ht: 6’2″

Wt: 215

Strengths:
Adequate height and overall size. A playmaker after the catch; does a nice job quickly securing the ball and taking off downfield. A tough receiver; can take a hit and keep moving. An impressive athlete; played quarterback in high school. Will make some acrobatic catches. Experienced lining up in the slot and on the outside; runs a lot of quick slants from the slot and makes plays after the catch.
Weaknesses:
Plays smaller than his listed height. Not the type of receiver that can consistently go up and fight for a ball in traffic. Wasn’t on the same page as his quarterback at times (e.g. ball lands before he turns to look for it); tough to know who’s to blame in those situations. Catches the ball with his body too often. Speed is average; may not be able to stretch the field at the next level.
Comments:
As good as Sanu was at Rutgers, he may have only scratched the surface of his potential. He has the size and athleticism to be a true No. 1 receiver, but Rutgers used him primarily in the slot, running a lot of quick slants. Due to shaky quarterback play, this was the most effective way for Rutgers to get the ball in the hands of their best offensive weapon. Sanu deserves credit for taking on a role that helped the team win, but it definitely hurt his development as a receiver. He’s too big and not quick enough to be an elite playmaker from the slot at the next level, although his experience in that role certainly helps. He’ll need time to develop, as he learns how to use his size to his advantage on the outside, but he has a ton of upside and Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano speaks highly of his work ethic.
Videos:
2011 vs Louisville
2011 vs Navy
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 Comments Off