With the 46 pick of the 2008 NFL Draft, the Bengals select Coast Carolina WR Jerome Simpson

I'll be honest, I know little of Simpson (actually nothing), but we knew that the Bengals would look at wide receiver in the first three rounds. Scouts, Inc. listed Simpson as the 11th best wide receiver in the draft -- but the sixth selected.

Simpson's college career:

Year Rec Yards TD
2004 26 419 8
2005 33 527 9
2006 61 1,077 16
2007 41 697 11
Career 161 2,720 44

I like the touchdown numbers. He averaged 16.89 yards-per-reception for his career even though Sports Illustrated lists his negative as: "Loping runner with marginal speed and poor route-running skills. Ineffective picking up yardage after the reception." They projected him somewhere in the middle of the third round while ESPN says middle of the third-round to fourth-round. Reach?

Mort says that the Coast Carolina head coach called him about Simpson and described him with "great character". Mel Kiper Jr. raved about his athleticism

At the NFL Combine, Simpson ran a 4.47 40 -- 8th among wide receivers -- a 37.5 vertical jump (t-2nd among wide receivers) and an 11'4" broad jump that SMOKED all wide receivers.

Here's is what Scouts, Inc. says of Simpson.

Strengths: A good-sized receiver with above average height, adequate bulk, enormous hands and unusually long arms. He has outstanding leaping ability to climb the ladder for jump balls. He displays one of the best set of hands in this class. Hands are big, strong and soft. Shows very good focus and will make the tough catch in traffic. Plucks on the run effortlessly and does a great job of adjusting to poorly thrown balls. Is tough and competitive. Shows good initial quickness and vision after the catch. Not afraid to go over the middle. Gives a good effort as a blocker and is strong enough to sustain once locked on. Very durable athlete.

Weaknesses: Lacks ideal burst. Will occasionally struggle to get a clean release off the line versus press coverage. Takes a bit too long getting in and out of cuts. Needs to become a savvier route runner in order to consistently separate from tight-man coverage in the NFL. Does not possess the top-end speed to stretch the field vertically at the next level. Will be making a big leap from small-school collegiate level to the NFL.

Overall: Simpson established himself as a starter for the Chanticleers as a true freshman, appearing in 34 games (27 starts) over the next three seasons (2004-'06). During that period, he piled up 120 receptions for 2,023 yards (16.8 average) and 33 touchdowns. Simpson's numbers as a senior didn't quite live up to his lofty totals of the previous season, but he managed 41 receptions for 697 yards (17.0 average) and 11 TDs in 11 games (all starts) working with a new starting quarterback. He also set school records in the long jump and high jump competing on the Coastal Carolina outdoor track team during the football season. The small-school prospect had erratic production during his collegiate career. While it was easy to chalk his dip in production as a senior to a new starting quarterback, it helped to see Simpson emerge as one of the elite players during the week of practice at the East-West Shrine game. In addition to dominating practice sessions, Simpson measured the longest arms (35 5/8) and second-biggest hands (10 3/8) of any player participating in the game regardless of position. The one concern we have with Simpson is that he struggles to consistently separate from press-man coverage. If he becomes savvier in that regard, Simpson could easily emerge as a possession No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in the NFL. Regardless, don't be surprised in April's draft if Simpson comes off the board in the third-to-fourth round range.

This page will be continuously updated with analysis.

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