Football Outsiders came up with an interesting list of breakout candidates (it's an Insider piece...sorry guys) and there are some Bengals on the list that might surprise you. Well, they wouldn't surprise you because you are a savy Bengals fan who reads the awesome content posted by the crack jack team of writers at Cincy Jungle. But these names might surprise the average fan that ... you know ... has a life and doesn't spend their waking moments keeping track of all the practice squad players.
Regardless, I enjoyed seeing some praise for these under-the-radar guys, so I thought I'd pass it along. Three Bengals made this list of twenty-five breakout candidates (pretty good recognition from a non-Bengals media outlet). Here they are:
Mohammed Sanu - Maybe no surprise to some of you, but he is certainly not a household name. Here's what FBO had to say:
Brandon Thompson - Apparently Still wasn't eligible for this list, but FBO heaped some high praise on the other Bengals DT prospect from last year.
In reality, the combine numbers align with the scouting reports. He isn't going to explode off the line, and he's not going to streak down the field -- but Sanu is built to beat coverage with his body, not his speed. If scouts are correct, he'll develop into a high-volume, very reliable possession receiver, which fits what the Bengals need to complement A.J. Green.
Emmanuel Lamur - One of my favorite players from last year and I guy I expect to see a large workload increase.
(After Still) they used the 93rd overall pick on Thompson, a Clemson product who was on the field for only 22 defensive snaps. In fact, Thompson was a healthy inactive for 13 out of 16 games as a rookie. But that doesn't mean the Bengals don't have plans for him, and he'll get a chance to play now that backup defensive tackle Pat Sims signed with Oakland. Thompson is an excellent interior gap stuffer, but he's also adept at an array of pass-rush moves including bull rush, swim and rip. He could eventually develop into the replacement for Domata Peko when Peko's contract ends after the 2014 season. In the meantime, well, nobody ever went 4-12 because they rotated in too many fresh pass-rushers.
Nice to see these guys get some praise! Let's hope they really do breakout. Who Dey!
Lamur went undrafted out of Kansas State but really impressed Bengals coaches last year. He was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster after Week 8, and in Cincinnati's last nine games he was a steady part of special teams and also played 17 percent of defensive snaps. Lamur was a safety for part of his time at Kansas State, so he's good in coverage and is comfortable tackling in the open field. However, the Bengals want him to bulk up a bit so he can be stronger against the run. At this year's OTAs, Lamur was playing in the main sub package alongside Vontaze Burfict, with Rey Maualuga and James Harrison coming out. This could be the first step toward taking Maualuga out of the starting lineup entirely, in which case Burfict would move to the middle and Lamur would take the starting job at weakside linebacker.