Notre Dame is one of the more recognizable college football programs. Even in recent years, the school has produced some great draft prospects, despite not having that same tradition of success they’re use to.
This week, the Bengals had at least three coaches in attendance for Notre Dame’s pro day, which featured one sure top 10 pick and another likely first rounder. Cincinnati sent offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, assistant special teams coach Brayden Coombs and running backs coach Kyle Caskey to South Bend.
Caskey had the honors of working out running back Josh Adams during his pro day. You can see Caskey and Adams in action here:
Adams impressed throughout his work out and showed who he is. He is a north and south runner who you’ll get a cut out of, but won’t be mistaking for Barry Sanders anytime soon. He had a drop, but overall he showed off that he can be used in the passing game as a large target and could also fit well into a zone-style running game. Given his 6’2” height and 213 pound frame, he could be dangerous in the open field. Plus, his team-first mindset shines through when he talks.
The Bengals seem relatively set at the running back position right now with Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard. They also brought in Brian Hill last year during the season, and he showed some flashes of being a capable backup. We should also expect a better season from Bernard, since he is coming into the season healthy instead of recovering from an ACL injury. Still, if Adams is sitting there on day three, the Bengals may view him as a valuable backup running back option.
Of note, according to ND Insider, Mike Mayock shared that Adams may need to have foot surgery in the coming months.
“He’s got a foot problem that’s apparently going to need some surgery. That’s going to hurt him a little bit,” Mayock said. “I thought he was a third-day prospect, and I think the foot thing is going to hurt him a little bit, but with his height-weight-speed ratio, he has a chance.”
When asked about the need for surgery, Adams stiff-armed the question into the future.
”We’re going to see on that,” Adams said following his workout. “None of that was on my mind today. Just getting this over with and making sure that all of my focus was on today, and tomorrow I’ll get back checking on my health and checking on certain things that might need to get worked on.
Of course the guy everyone was at Notre Dame pro day for was the guard Quenton Nelson. He is among the best players in this draft with some analysts viewing him as the best prospect in the draft. Whoever gets him will be set at one of the guard positions for as long as he is on their team. The phrase safe pick gets thrown around a lot, but Nelson is the definition. He is strong, athletic and has a dominant mindset to be one of the best. Unfortunately, the Bengals have no hope he will fall all the way to 21. They have spoken to him though.
Back when the Bengals were picking at 12, they had a major need at offensive tackle. There were plenty of talks of which tackle the Bengals should take, and it seemed Mike McGlinchey emerged as the safe option. He has a high floor, but he won’t be making Pro Bowls or viewed as an All-Pro immediately upon entering the league. At pick No. 21 that kind of player seems more reasonable if the Bengals are still looking to add an offensive tackle early.
Finally, there was receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. The Bengals have been keeping an eye on possible day three receivers, and while St. Brown will likely be gone by the time the Bengals pick in the fourth round, we have seen stranger things happen than a player like him lasting that look. St. Brown is 6’5” and a huge target for quarterbacks. Considering his size, he runs well. The major knock on him is his competitiveness, but that could have also been linked to not having that much of a passing game at Notre Dame. As a fourth round pick, he’d be a good option.