After signing seven players to the team's practice squad over the weekend, the Bengals were awaiting their eighth signing, hoping to keep their sixth round draft pick Dezmon Briscoe, who would later sign to Tampa Bay's practice squad.
According to Joe Reedy, the Bengals found their eighth player, signing wide receiver Shay Hodge to the team's practice squad. The Bengals will be Hodge's third team since signing with the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent after the 2010 NFL Draft. He was released during rookie minicamp and immediately signed with the Washington Redskins.
Hodge, a former Mississippi Rebel who was expecting his name to be announced on draft day, recorded 70 receptions for 1,145 yards receiving and eight touchdowns as a senior; recording consecutive eight-touchdown seasons with the Rebels. He became the school's all-time leading receiver and was named to the first-team All-SEC team.
Hodge spent most of his time with the Redskins learning from veteran receivers like Santana Moss and Joey Galloway.
"They're good guys. They teach me," he said. "I'm learning from watching them. It's fun to have veterans like that. All the older guys don't necessarily treat you like a rookie and try to take advantage of you and do the things you hear about."
Release: Good initial quickness off the snap. Has a quick step laterally to elude press coverage and gets into his route quickly. Lacks an explosive burst, but has normal acceleration to eat up the cushion and carry past the defender. Has sneaky speed to get over the top.
Hands: Inconsistent hands at times, but really helped himself in this area with a strong week of practice at the Senior Bowl (snatched the ball out of the air, showing good concentration to secure the catch with defenders in close proximity -- a repeated problem area previously). Has the body control to adjust outside of his frame to pluck the ball. Tracks the ball over his shoulder. Should do a better job of going up and getting the ball in jump situations considering his size.
Route running: Another area that showed significant improvement in Mobile. Has enough speed to force corners to respect his ability to go deep, but showed improved balance in sinking his hips and generating burst out of his breaks. Proved to be one of the better combo route runners at the Senior Bowl, setting up defenders with good head fakes for the post-corner.
After the catch: Good vision and lateral agility to elude in the open field, but hasn't been willing to go across the middle and risk the big hit consistently. Only normal acceleration and lacks the straight-line speed to pull away from NFL defenders.
Blocking: Pesky blocker that scouts would like to see use his size more to his advantage. Willing to work downfield when he sees a teammate break into the open field, but relies too much on his initial pop, rather than working to sustain.
Intangibles: Not necessarily characterized as the toughest player on the field due to alligator-arm attempts over the middle, Hodge nonetheless appeared in all 50 games of his career. Overcame a personal tragedy early in his collegiate career, as his 17-month-old daughter, Shavareia, lost her battle with holoprosencephaly, a disorder in which the middle part of the brain doesn't develop during pregnancy.