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Bengals hosting Baylor WR Ishmael Zamora in Cincinnati

Could the Bengals take a chance on one of the draft’s most controversial players?

Baylor v West Virginia Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Wide receiver appears to be a high priority for the Cincinnati Bengals in the upcoming draft. About 20 percent of their visits so far, have been with wide receivers. Now, the Bengals are scheduled to host a controversial, but talented receiver, Ishmael Zamora out of Baylor University.

Receiving comparisons to Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns, Zamora is a large, physical, and incredibly talented wide receiver. At 6’3” and 220 pounds, he likes to use his size advantage to his benefit against opposing defensive backs and isn’t afraid to use his body as a battering ram after he makes the catch. He is also known as a master of timing the catch, lending to his role as a jump ball expert.

Many have called Zamora the biggest potential steal in the upcoming draft. There is also the potential that he could burn out quickly due to a history of reckless behavior, but NFL teams are likely to be willing to take that risk for a player who can pick up on day three of the draft. The Bengals, in particular, need at least one more wide receiver to compete to fill the spot formerly held by James Wright.

Unfortunately, Zamora has a dark past that leads to serious character concerns. Last August, he was suspended for three games by Baylor University and required to perform 40 hours of community service after a Snapchat video emerged of him severely beating his dog. From a legal standpoint, he received a misdemeanor citation for the incident and was forced to give his dog up to an animal-friendly home. It is likely that a very large number of NFL teams have taken him off their draft boards as a result.

Zamora’s disgusting crime resulted in him being among the notable names not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February. He shares that company with Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who was charged with misdemeanor assault after hitting a female student in 2014. And, Devonte Fields, who was accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, who alleged he pointed a gun at her, threatened that he “should blast” her and then punched her in the head. That isn’t the kind of company you want to find yourself among, especially heading into the draft. And interestingly, the Bengals have brought or will bring all three of these troubled players to Cincinnati before the draft. One reason for that is because they weren’t at the Combine and teams were unable to see them there and have them go through the medical testing done for all prospects in Indianapolis. One way of looking at this is that the Bengals are simply doing their due diligence. But is that all?

Despite Zamora’s wretched display of disregard for the life of his dog, as well as other off-field issues, scouts are still impressed enough by his on-field abilities to consider him for a shot in the NFL. Being compared by scouts to Gordon, whose ongoing character issues currently have him wondering if he will ever play NFL football again, despite very impressive production in his first two years, certainly doesn’t help. But, 63 catches for 809 yards and eight touchdowns last season have many convinced the Baylor receiver is worth a shot. Even though his 2015 season, spent as a backup, wasn’t anything to write home about (9 catches for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns).

If the Bengals pick Zamora up and he can stay out of trouble, it is very likely he would fill the final receiver role and potentially even climb the depth chart. However, the possibility that he burns out in flames is very real and should be a very serious concern for the Bengals, even if he makes a good impression during his visit.


Would you want the Bengals to take a chance on Zamora?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    Yes, if it’s late on Day 3 of the draft.
    (328 votes)
  • 21%
    Yes, if it’s in undrafted free agency.
    (168 votes)
  • 36%
    No, thanks.
    (282 votes)
778 votes total Vote Now