We spoke with Jeff Gray of Red Cup Rebellion, SB Nation's Ole Miss blog to learn more about Bengals sixth round Draft pick, former Rebels wide receiver, Cody Core. Core is expected to take some time to develop in the NFL -- as most sixth round picks do -- but has the potential to make an impact down the road and is a versatile player, something we all know the Bengals love.
Cincy Jungle: What was Core best known for at Ole Miss?
Jeff Gray: My first reaction to that question is to talk about Cody Core the Chain Mover—he's a big target who kind of had a knack for coming up with a clutch catch when you needed it. He caught 54 first downs during his junior and senior seasons. But you go back and look at his career at Ole Miss and you realize that he was one hell of a downfield, game-breaking play maker. He he averaged 17.4 yards per catch during his career (compare that Laquon Treadwell's 11.8) and had 19 catches of 20-plus yards during his final two seasons. Seven of his 10 career touchdowns were 20 yards or longer, including three longer than 50. Ole Miss doesn't beat Bama last season without Core's 73-yard score.
CJ: How likely do you think that it is for him to come to the Bengals and make an immediate impact?
JG: I think Core's going to be a bit of a project at the beginning. He spent his first two seasons in Oxford bouncing between receiver and safety, so he's only been a full-time wideout for a couple of years. Core's been knocked by scouts for his sloppy route-running, so that's something that will take some fine tuning. He also told me a few weeks ago that the transition from Ole Miss' spread offense to the pro system is "going to be hard."
CJ: Did he play a lot of special teams? If so, in what role and how frequently?
JG: During those first couple of seasons, his primary contribution was on special teams. Core logged 16 tackles on punt and kickoff teams, so that's definitely something he'll be able to do right away in Cincy. He told me during our conversation that it's something he's more than happy to do at the next level.
CJ: How did Laquon Treadwell impact his playing time/targets?
JG: Anytime you play next to a guy that talented, it's gonna eat into your own target total. Playing opposite Quon was very much a double-edge sword for Core. Treadwell ate up targets, but he also drew a lot of attention and opened up the field for the other receivers.
CJ When were you expecting him to be drafted?
JG: I didn't start my prewrite for him getting drafted until the morning of Day 3, if that tells you anything. I thought his strong Combine numbers might push him a little higher, but I came into the draft expecting anything between the fourth and sixth round.
CJ: I believe I saw he was a DB for his first 2 seasons and then switched to WR. What was that like? Was he any good as a cornerback?
JG: I could be mistaken, but I don't know that Core ever actually saw the field as a DB. He was a two-star recruit coming out of high school and the coaching staff didn't really know what to do with him over those first couple of seasons. It was during fall practice heading into the 2014 season that you suddenly heard this buzz around his name. He came out of nowhere to win the starting slot receiver spot, then piled up 236 yards and four touchdowns during the first three games.
CJ: What are his strengths?
JG: Catch radius and speed. He's 6'3 and has a vertical of 37.5. He ran a 4.47 40 at the Combine and, as I said, really demonstrated his downfield playmaking ability at Ole Miss.
CJ: How about any weaknesses?
JG: Again, he's still learning the position and especially needs to work on his route running.
CJ: Did he play much in the slot? Or more on the outside?
JG: Core did most of his damage—particularly last season—as an outside receiver. Given his size and imperfect route running, I think that's the best fit for him. But he began his Ole Miss career in the slot and lined up inside even after he became a starting wideout, so it's certainly a position he feels comfortable with.