TEMPE AZ - NOVEMBER 13: Wide receiver Ryan Whalen #8 of the Stanford Cardinal carries the ball against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on November 13 2010 in Tempe Arizona. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
One of the bigger question marks during the 2011 NFL Draft was the Bengals selecting Stanford wide receiver Ryan Whalen. Actually, let's be fair. It wasn't so much a question mark about the player they drafted; it's wondering why they felt the need to draft another wide receiver when there were other areas on the team that were labeled as needs. But they drafted him and we quickly realized that Whalen will be as important on special teams as he would be on the offense beyond 2011.
Whalen attended the players-organized practices this week and Joe Reedy came away impressed enough to mention it on Wednesday during the full-team practice at Nippert Stadium.
MT 3. Late-round rookie to keep an eye on -- 6th-round WR Ryan Whalen. Nice quickness and playbook is similar to what he had at Stanford.
If Chad is released, Whalen offers the team an option as a fifth or sixth wide receiver this season with a primarily special teams role. With Andre Caldwell and Jerome Simpson heading towards the final year under contract, the Bengals could groom Whalen into a much bigger contributor on offense by the 2012 season. And as Reedy points out, Whalen already has a head start, familiar with the system that the Bengals are implementing this year.