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Bengals worked out Illinois QB Wes Lunt

The Bengals are taking a look at another quarterback ahead of the NFL Draft.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor attended Illinois pro day in mid-March to scout quarterback Wes Lunt, and it appears he liked what he saw. The Bengals held a private workout with the quarterback who started his college career at Oklahoma State before transferring and playing his remaining three years of eligibility at Illinois.

This is the third quarterback the Bengals have been connected with in recent weeks after working out Miami’s Brad Kaaya and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes earlier in the pre-draft season. The Bengals also met with Tiffin quarterback Antonio Pipkin at the Senior Bowl back in January.

As a redshirt senior in 2016, Lunt started seven games (missed four due to injury) and served as a team captain. He had 36 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his Illinois career and finished seventh in passing yards (5,900), seventh in completions (550) and eighth in touchdown passes (36) in school history. His first interception in 2016 did not come until 96th pass attempt of the season. He also was an Academic All-Big Ten in all three of his seasons in Illinois.

At Oklahoma State, Lunt was the first true freshman quarterback to start a season opener since at least 1950 and completed 11-of-11 passes for 123 yards in less than a quarter of play, en route to a 84-0 win over Savannah State. His first road start (at Arizona) saw him throw for 436 yards and four touchdowns.

He has had some injury issues including a fractured fibula in 2014, his first season with the Fighting Illini, and also missed time in 2016 with a back injury. That combined with a high number of dropped passes thrown throughout his college career are pushing him to be a Day 3 draft pick or even an undrafted free agent. At 6'4" and 222 pounds, he has the size to succeed and is known for his arm strength, which are things that are attracting NFL coaches. But, he's been inconsistent and will take time to develop at the NFL level.

Here’s an excerpt from his draft profile:


Has NFL size to stand tall in the pocket and scan the entire field. Pocket passer who plays in pro-style attack. Good ball handler in play-action and has experience in rolling out in both directions. Possesses an NFL arm that can make all the throws. Able to generate ample velocity with flick of a wrist when rushed. Able to get rid of throw quickly when he sees a target break open. Defaults to throwing ball away before forcing a dangerous throw.


Statue in the pocket. Very slow in his five-step drops and in play-action. Has minimal escapability and has never been a threat with his legs. Rarely slides to safety or climbs the pocket when the edges of protection soften. Lacks poise in the face of pressure. Turtles rather than fighting through pressure to find a receiver. Ball placement inconsistent on crossing routes and field-side comebacks. Struggles to find a rhythm due to a lack of functional accuracy. Averaged less than six yards per attempt over two seasons at Illinois.


Has NFL size and an NFL arm and he has the experience with NFL footwork that many quarterbacks lack coming out. However, Lunt's lack of mobility and his rampant inaccuracy make his NFL future a long-shot.

If the Bengals want another project quarterback for the practice squad, or, if the club trades AJ McCarron, Lunt could be a good option to develop for the future.