The Bengals have claimed former 49ers rookie quarterback Jeff Driskel off waivers, according to Pro Football Talk. Because they claimed him, Driskel must now join the 53-man roster, meaning someone on the current roster will need to be cut to make room.
Driskel was drafted in this year's draft in the sixth round out of Louisiana Tech University. He also played at University of Florida for his first four years of his college career before he was benched as a senior and transferred because of it, earning a fifth year of eligibility.
If the Bengals wanted to move Driskel to the practice squad, they would need to waive him and see him move through the waiver wire again before being able to do so. So, it appears they will enter the 2016 season with three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster.
Per Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, the Bengals really like his measurables; he was the fastest quarterback in the 40 yard dash at the combine.
Bengals like his measurables. First Opening Week waiver claim since Tate in 2011— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) September 4, 2016
Driskel completed 15/31 passes for 132 yards, 2 interceptions and 0 touchdowns this preseason, good for a preseason quarterback rating of 33.3. Driskel was the fourth quarterback on the 49ers' depth chart this offseason behind Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick and Christian Ponder. He didn’t get too many chances this preseason, but apparently the Bengals see something in him to be signing a rookie opposed to sticking with Keith Wenning who spent 2014 on the Ravens practice squad and 2015 on the Bengals’ practice squad. Wenning was promoted to the active roster in Week 15 after Andy Dalton suffered a fractured thumb but he was cut from the roster yesterday.
In five years of college, including four years at Florida and one at Louisiana Tech, Driskel compiled 7,437 yards, 50 touchdowns and 28 interceptions, good for a 134.1 quarterback rating. His best year came at Louisiana Tech as a senior; he completed 279/448 passes for 4,026 yards, 27 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Prior to joining the Gators, Driskel was very highly regarded in high school and even thought as being “the next Tim Tebow”.
Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz shared back in 2015 why Driskel was leaving the Gators to become a Bulldog, per The News Star:
"I think down at Florida, it got very toxic for him. He became the scapegoat," Holtz said. "He became the guy that was tied to losing at Florida as a fan base that does not take very well to losing. It really became a negative situation, which is unfortunate because he's such a great Christian young man with such great values who is a leader.
"If you ever have a chance to sit down and talk with him, he's almost too good to be true. He's exactly the way you'd want to raise your son. I'm really proud of him and really happy for him that he was able to go out, play that way. Our fan base was able to embrace him the way that they did."
The Bengals have rarely kept three quarterbacks on the roster in recent years with the exception of when AJ McCarron came off the Non-Football Injury list during his rookie season and was activated to the roster.
The Bengals will need to cut a player on the roster or make a move by adding someone like Cedric Peerman or William Jackson III to Injured Reserve to make room for Driskel by the end of the day.
Here are some of Driskel’s scouting reports for further reading: