The Bengals held a private workout this week with Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya.
Former Dolphins OC Bill Lazor, now with Bengals, just left UM after private workout with Kaaya— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) March 21, 2017
The Cincinnati Bengals worked out UM QB Brad Kaaya on Tuesday. That's a good fit for him.— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) March 22, 2017
This was not during Miami’s pro day, which is on March 29. This comes as a somewhat surprising move as Kaaya is widely considered a top 10 quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft and is expected to be selected between Rounds 3-4. The Bengals don’t have much of a need at quarterback with Andy Dalton as the unquestioned starter and AJ McCarron among the best backups in the league. There’s also Jeff Driskel who was kept as the third string quarterback for all of 2016. The Bengals rarely keep three quarterbacks on the roster, which seems to indicate the team really likes Driskel.
Kaaya was a three-year starter for the Hurricanes and improved in each of his seasons in Miami. In 2016, Kaaya threw 261 passes for 2,532 yards and 27 touchdowns vs 7 interceptions. He had a 62.0% completion percentage and 150.3 passer rating. Kaaya ranks as Miami’s all-time leading passer after only three years (9,968 yards) and ranks fourth all-time in ACC history in passing yards.
Mike Mayock has said that Kaaya needs to work on his pocket mechanics and that he's likely to be a developmental player upon entering the league.
“He’s a talented kid,” Mayock said. “He’s got the prototypical size. He makes three to five throws per game that are awesome. You sit back and go, ‘Yup, that’s it, that’s it, that’s NFL.’ But then you watch the pocket mechanics break down and I think he starts to panic a little bit when he starts to see a flash of color from the other team.’’
The 6-foot-5 Kaaya has actually been linked to the Pittsburgh Steelers, as a potential replacement for Ben Roethlisberger in the long-term. If the Bengals are really considering trading AJ McCarron, looking at Kaaya would make more sense. Though, the Bengals have a lot of needs and drafting a quarterback in Rounds 3-4 may not be the best use of draft picks. The Bengals do have two fourth round picks, so it’s possible a quarterback could be taken with one of them.
CBS Sports' Dane Brugler compared Kaaya to 2016 first overall pick Jared Goff, saying they have similar body-types and arms. Here’s an excerpt from his draft profile:
STRENGTHS: Adequate height for the position with room to add bulk. Strong understanding of touch and trajectory downfield, fitting the ball between levels of the defense. Unforced throwing motion with the arm strength to make all the necessary NFL throws. Displays crisp zip on outs, slants and dig routes. Efficient pocket movements with his upper and lower body, using pumps and motions to hold defenders. Uses both sides of the field, finding his second and third receivers. Anticipates pressures pre-snap, keeping a cool demeanor in the pocket. Enough mobility to occasionally extend plays, sliding and moving away from heat. Toughness was often tested at Miami, taking hits but only missing one game the past three seasons.
WEAKNESSES: Slow-twitch trigger and shows too much hesitation from within the pocket, holding the ball too long and taking hits. Leaner-than-ideal body type and needs to continue and fill out. Late, inconsistent decision-maker and needs to improve his anticipation of passing windows. Enough arm talent for the next level, but won't wow with his arm strength. Deep ball lacks life. Goes through erratic stretches with his accuracy. Sluggish feet and gets the deer-in-the-headlights look on some pressures - internal clock needs re-wired. Mechanics lack polish and needs to clean up his balance and footwork.
What do you think about the Bengals checking out Kaaya?