Would it be a stretch to say that the Cincinnati Bengals could look at a wide receiver during next week's NFL draft? Of course it wouldn't (have you not read our endless ramblings). Holding their golden pen against blank contracts, with designations for other positions during free agency, the Bengals surprisingly allowed the wide receiver position to go untouched for the past month. Obviously this generates suspicions among the paranoia that Cincinnati will address the position, possibly as early as the first round. But we'll be completely honest: We have no idea what the team plans on doing; only conjecture on the information we have to make educated guesses.
That being said the range is wide, the possibilities endless. One that we haven't raised much, but our own loyal (and badass) readers at Cincy Jungle have, is wide receiver Marvin Jones. Considering I didn't spend my college football season watching the University of California football games, why not hear from the people that watched him the most.
The California Golden Blogs, SB Nation's Golden Bears website, provided a scouting report on Jones. Here's what they say:
In any other four years, Marvin Jones could've contended to be one of Cal's best wideouts. DeSean Jackson was a one of a kind playmaking talent, but Jones could arguably have been more productive at Cal if the rest of the offense could've matched up with his talents. He was an every down receiver who could do multiple things and do them all excellently.
He was very athletically gifted. He had a 33 inch vertical leap, allowing him to jump up and leap for big grabs. Many times he'd have to adjust to underthrown deep balls and come back for the football, and he managed to haul in 30-40 yard gains that way to really open up the offense. When the football was thrown too far to the sidelines, Jones maintained his awareness of where he was on the field and got one foot down, keeping a number of overthrown balls inbounds.
He ran polished routes. He did a good job driving his defender back in zone coverage to get an open spot for his quarterback to find him. If playing against man coverage he'd utilize strong footwork to make sure defenders were doubling back rather than getting close on him. Jones would never launch for any real open field touchdowns, but his excellent technique ensured that he'd get his fair share of catches and make his QB feel comfortable out there, regardless of where that throw was going (post down the middle, go route straight down the line, corner route to the sideline/end zone).
Jones was a solid blocker, so he provided a nice seal for the screen. He could run an end-around pretty effectively as well to provide a nice change-of-pace from the standard options. However, he still needs some work on his blocking, which might discourage the Niners from taking him. Harbaugh loves receivers who commit fully to engaging defensive backs, and Jones probably still doesn't quite yet know all the tricks.
Unfortunately, Cal's quarterbacks couldn't match Jones's natural talents. Kevin Riley could uncork that deep throw but other than the post route, struggled with short and intermediate, Zach Maynard had an up and down time controlling his accuracy, commanding the pocket, lacked a deep throw, and favored his brother Keenan Allen, limiting Jones's touches in his senior season. Jones still had some great moments and provided his pro credentials by making great adjustments to mediocre throws, helping to keep Cal's offense functioning even against the toughest of opponents.
Main weakness: He drops the football a bit. So he could afford to learn to catch the football better. Hear that's the most important thing a wide receiver can do.