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Bengals Scouting Report: Kelly Jennings

On Monday the Cincinnati Bengals acquired cornerback Kelly Jennings in a trade that sent defensive tackle Clinton McDonald to the Seattle Seahawks. So we tapped into the infinite knowledge of our SB Nation comrades at Field Gulls to get an idea on what we're getting. Here's that report. 


Jennings is a former first-round pick out of Miami whose main strengths are his quickness and speed in coverage. He's a decent cover cornerback, can keep step with basically anyone, and is generally assignment correct and disciplined. He doesn't draw a lot of flags and he's an able tackler, given his small stature.


Ball skills. He has two interceptions in five seasons despite being a first round pick. He is not especially capable against bigger receivers and he's not physical enough to jam at the line. I would say he's not particularly outstanding at getting his head around to the ball and this is a big part of why he doesn't have many interceptions. You'll see quarterbacks challenge him and he rarely makes a play on the ball. That said he's usually right there with the receiver.

What the Bengals are getting

When Kelly Jennings was re-signed a lot of Seahawks fans complained, as he's become a scapegoat of sorts for all the Seahawks woes on defense the last few seasons, and especially last year when the Hawks gave up more pass plays of 20+ yards than any other team in the league. He certainly hasn't helped in that department but given the right role, I think Jennings could be a pretty good addition for the Bengals. It was assumed by many that Jennings' role in Seattle this season was to be a nickel back, responsible for matching up against smaller, quicker slot receivers. This way, his speed and quickness could be utilized without him becoming a liability against the bigger outside receivers. The Hawks used safety Earl Thomas and safety Roy Lewis at times in this role last season and writers here sort of figured that might be a position he could handle.

My personal opinion is that he's best suited in this type of thing that's where he'd be most effective for the Bengals. You have to remember that he's a disciplined and intelligent player that has negligible ball skills. He's not at his best lined up on the outside and that's why he's has now been traded for an obscure 7th round DT. I wouldn't expect wonders, and you might as well forget the fact he was drafted in the first round because you're not going to get that type of production from him, but what you will get it a hard working cornerback/nickelback that won't make many bonehead plays. He won't make many big plays either though.

Big thanks to Danny Kelly of for the Scouting Report swap.