Cobi Hamilton, one of Cincinnati's sixth-round picks from the 2013 NFL draft, had a pedestrian evening last Thursday when the Bengals exploded for 34 points against a good Atlanta Falcons squad. Of the three passes that targeted him, he caught one and that resulted in a one-yard loss -- the other incomplete passes were the result of bad throws (or passes thrown away).
The story changed on Saturday when the Bengals hosted and beat the Tennessee Titans 27-19.
With :11 remaining in the third quarter, quaterback Josh Johnson takes the shotgun snap from the Bengals 25-yard line. The call was quick slants with a three-step drop. Johnson quickly got the football out of his hands, leading Hamilton on the left. The rookie receiver caught the football, shrugged off Alterraun Verner's attempted tackle and gained 30 yards to the Titans 45-yard line.
It was Cincinnati's longest passing play of the game.
Earlier in the game Hamilton picked up a first down on a quick pass from John Skelton with 3:51 remaining in the second quarter, picking up eight yards to the Titans 31-yard line.
Hamilton's 38 yards receiving was second on the team behind Brandon Tate's 48 yards.
Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden likes what he's seen out of Hamilton.
"Cobi’s a tough guy and he’s not afraid of anything," Gruden said via Bengals.com. "He just needs to slow down and use the strength that he has, his size as a wide receiver and work some defensive backs over like he did on that slant that he caught. But he’s a good target."
This isn't the first time that Hamilton has been noticed and complimented by Gruden.
"He'll challenge to make the squad and become a player," Gruden said during the team's rookie minicamp. "Cobi's an exciting guy. He's bigger than I thought he was. He's taller. He's got good stride to him, he's got good hands, he's tough. In Arkansas he ran a lot of crossing routes so we knew he wasn't afraid to go across the middle. We like Cobi. We're impressed with what he's done so far."
Quarterback Andy Dalton was a little more diplomatic when asked about the talent he has at wide receiver.
"We’ve got a lot of competition on this team," said Dalton after the game. "When you get everybody back from the year before and add draft some guys, it makes decisions tough. It’s kind of like you were saying — there’s tons of competition out there and that’s what you expect for your team and what you want to have right now going into the year."