Onterio McCalebb's NFL career got off to a rough start.
Since going undrafted out of Auburn in 2013, the Bengals signed and have worked McCalebb as a cornerback, despite his playing running back in college. McCalebb's development has been slow as expected, though he did make his NFL debut last year at Baltimore by playing on special teams.
Still, it's hard to keep a guy on the roster who is buried so deeply on the roster, which is probably why the Bengals are moving him to a wide receiver. That's where McCalebb worked out in OTAs, and it looks like it's where he'll play in training camp as he fights for a spot on the 53-man roster.
After all, McCalebb was one of the only players in SEC history to gain more than 2,000 yards rushing, 1,000 yards in kick returns and 500 career receiving yards during his time at Auburn. During his college career, McCalebb averaged 25.7 yards on 53 kickoff returns, including touchdowns of 83 and 100 yards.
McCalebb's 4.34 seconds in the 40-yard dash were the best of any RB and tied for second best at WR at the 2013 NFL scouting combine. That kind of speed can also make McCaleb a solid kick-coverage guy on special teams. He's played in that role in one career game, but other than that, has spent most of his time on the practice squad.
Another thing going for McCalebb is the Bengals continue to search for other options for their kickoff-returner spot as Brandon Tate looks to once again retain that job, with the help of Adam Jones. That gave McCalebb a chance to get more reps in OTAs as he looks to find a niche in Cincinnati.
"Here's the mindset," Urban said in May, via Bengals.com. "Great kid. We love working with him. He's got dynamic speed and he did some great things with the ball in his hands in college. Let's give him a shot with the ball in his hands. And he's been great. Really engaged."
McCalebb is still a longshot to make the 53-man roster, but if he can have a positive showing in training camp and the preseason, he should at least earn a spot back on the practice squad.