While you may or may not be sick of reading about how awesome the Bengals draft was, we think the following praise from Greg Cosell is something that we should pass along. Cosell is a highly-respected NFL analyst and senior producer at NFL Films. He writes that the Bengals were the AFC team that caught his attention.
First of all, Cosell loves first round pick Kevin Zeitler. It has been said that the Bengals may have preferred Zeitler to David DeCastro, who fell to the Steelers at pick 24 after the Bengals had passed on him. Cosell seems to agree with the Bengals:
"I felt that Zeitler was the more athletic and more complete guard prospect. Zeitler was very efficient in the zone-run game with his quick feet and sustained movement. He’s an excellent fit for the Bengals."
Cosell was also impressed with what the Bengals did at the receiver position and he was a big fan of the Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones picks. He says this about Sanu:
"Based on my tape study, I projected him as a slot receiver. In fact, I saw similar physical attributes to the New Orleans Saints’ Marques Colston: good size, fluid movement, excellent hands and the ability to work effectively in traffic in the middle of the field."
While many expect Sanu to grab the number two receiver spot opposite A.J. Green, Cosell warns his readers to not forget about Jones:
"He will compete with Sanu for the starting job opposite Green. Jones had the widest catching radius of any receiver in this draft class. His ability to snatch balls outside his body frame is outstanding."
Many draft analysts thought that Jones was one of the steals of the draft, it seems that Cosell agrees. He reminds us that Green often commands double coverage, which would allow Sanu or Jones to receive single coverage at times and flourish in the offensive system.
Cosell also had a positive outlook on the selection of Boise State safety George Iloka and he believes that Iloka was an absolute steal in the fifth round:
"I was surprised Iloka was still available at pick 167. There are not many safeties who are 6-foot-3 1/2, 225 pounds with the speed and movement skills of Iloka. He also aligned on the outside at corner in Boise State’s final three games of the season due to injury and was not overmatched athletically. I watched many games, so I understand the concerns — one of which was a lack of splash plays — and I was told that was a main reason why he fell in the draft. But with his rare size, long arms, good range and closing speed, plus the fact the Bengals lack quality at the safety position, Iloka will get an opportunity. And I would not be surprised if he emerged as a significant contributor in Mike Zimmer’s defense."
Iloka will likely be asked to contribute on special teams before he is starting at safety, but he could be inserted in a nickel defense for Zimmer. It is great to hear Cosell praising the Bengals draft, and the rookies seemed to showcase their skills that he raved about in this writeup during the rookie minicamps last weekend.