The Bengals claimed Jeff Driskel off waivers on Sunday, a move few saw coming.
The former Florida Gators and Louisiana Tech Bulldogs quarterback has speed that makes him a dual threat both through the air and on the ground. Driskel was the fastest quarterback at this year’s NFL Combine and and is said to have remarkable arm strength. His weaknesses include inaccuracy throwing deep balls and getting anxious in the pocket. The Bengals seem to be taking a chance on Driskel, the 49ers sixth round draft pick this year, and giving him a few weeks to prove whether or not he’s someone they want to spend their time developing. He’s likely to be inactive on gamedays and could be the roster casualty when Vontaze Burfict returns to the Bengals’ active roster in Week 4, though, the Bengals can worry about that in a few weeks.
1) Did Driskel have any chance of making the 49er's roster?
He had a shot heading into the preseason, after a solid start to training camp, but things went south. He showed the athleticism that made him a running threat at Louisiana Tech. The problem is there were significant stretches where he couldn't hit the broadside of a barn on passes. In the preseason finale he threw interceptions on his first two passes, and that about sealed his fate. There could be some development in there, but he's not a guy you want contributing as a rookie.
2) Are you surprised the Bengals claimed him on waivers?
I was a little bit. He's a developmental talent right now, so sacrificing a spot on the 53-man roster, especially with Andy Dalton in place, was kind of a surprise.
3) What does his NFL potential look like?
He's got a lot of work to do. I don't know enough about the Bengals quarterbacks coach, but it seems like he'll need a strong coach to help him develop his passing game. Right now his potential rides more on his legs than anything. He did work as a personal protector for the punter in practice. That opens the door to some fakes early on, so that's something.
4) Anything positive or negative about him that you learned this offseason that you think Bengals fans would like to know?
If he's on the roster next year, I guarantee you people will overreact to a few big preseason scrambles! But I like that he put in the work on special teams, even as a quarterback. (He was in the personal protector role for the punter (the guy lined up just behind center in front of the punter), but I think he did some other stuff as well. It wasn't specified beyond the protector role.