Last night, former Bengals Quarterback Boomer Esiason spoke on Lance McAlister's Sports Talk on 700 WLW, and had a lot of good things to say about the up and coming Bengals. First, Boomer emphasized that Quarterback Andy Dalton must "take the next step now":
Well, I think that their young quarterback should take another step now. For me, it was my second year where the light really went on, where I completely understood what I was doing on the field.
Boomer added that he really likes the direction the team is headed:
I would think that, for them, with their young quarterback, their young wide receiver, throw in a couple of other young players that they're bringing in, there's a lot to be excited about there because when you watch these teams and you see youth growing together, like it did for us in the early 80's, now all the sudden, you look at the future and you say that could be a pretty damn good team.
Lastly, Boomer's take on the Bengals' 2012 draft picks was most interesting:
Now, when I look at their draft, I know who Dre Kirkpatrick is, of course because I've seen a lot of his games. And oddly enough I know who Mohamed Sanu is, their third round pick, and the reason I know him is because he was here at Rutgers, and we covered them quite a bit, talking about them, and interviewing Greg Schiano, who by the way is now the head coach at Tampa Bay, loved Mohamed Sanu. And I will tell Bengals fans, this is who he reminds me of- and he is a happier version of this particular player, and that's Carl Pickens. He's about the same size, about the same speed, when you watch his highlights in college, you'll see some great catches like Carl did. But this kid will be a great teammate for A.J. Green, and for Andy Dalton, and all the other young players. He'll be a nice addition. Whether he'll catch on early enough, I don't know, but Carl Pickens it took about a year or two before he really figured out how good he could be.
Sanu has drawn extensive comparisons to former Bengal receiver T.J. Houshmanzadeh due to his lack of speed and potential as a dominant possession receiver, but this is the first time I've seen a comparison to former Bengal great Carl Pickens.
Pickens (6'2", 206 pounds) was the Bengals' No. 31 pick in the second round of the 1992 NFL Draft, quickly becoming the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. He wasn't dominant as a receiver (26 receptions, 326 yards, 1 touchdown), but Pickens' electrifying punt returns sealed the deal on the award. Pickens finally "figured out how good he could be" in his third season, and was a Pro Bowler in his fourth and fifth seasons.
*Denotes Pro Bowl Seasons
While Mohamed Sanu doesn't immediately suggest Carl Pickens comparisons, it's certainly exciting enough that Sanu may become one of the best possession receivers of the next decade. Sanu is raw, but he is capable of posting over one hundred receptions in a season, like T.J. Houshmanzadeh or Carl Pickens in their primes. And, unlike Pickens and Houshmanzadeh, Sanu is a very amiable and generous guy.
But, before Sanu can break out for 100 catches, he needs to beat out Marvin Jones and the rest of the hungry wide receiver corps for that No. 2 Wide Receiver spot.