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Bengals 7th round pick Auden Tate “making a real run” at 53-man roster

Auden Tate turned plenty of heads during the Bengals’ minicamp. It could be enough to put him in the conversation for the 53-man roster.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Minicamp Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals ended their 2018 draft haul by bringing in Florida State wide receiver Auden Tate. He slipped due to his awful 40-yard dash time of 4.68 seconds as well as a shoulder injury that he played through in college. Plus, his college stats just weren’t that impressive.

What makes Tate an intriguing college prospect regardless of all that is his 6’5” height and 228 pound frame. He was never known for running by defenders, instead he would just out jump them. He has already shown off that catch radius during Bengals minicamp, according to all those in attendance.

As Geoff Hobson of writes:

Seventh-round pick Auden Tate, the monstrous Florida State wide receiver and last of the Bengals’ 11 draft picks, is making a real run at the roster. At 6-5, 228 pounds Tate has caught everything despite his marginal 40 speed but there are no indications they’re moving him to H-Back. Asked about Tate’s catch radius by Bengals radio voice Dan Hoard, [John] Ross gave him a great future training camp bite with, “I think it’s ridiculous. It looks like the ball is always out of his reach, but it’s never out of reach for him.”

Your first reaction may be that it is only minicamp, and that is fair. It is still hard not to get caught up over a guy who is routinely wowing everyone watching him. It isn’t like it was just one play either. He did it all week and reporters were taking notice.

The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote about him as a highlight of the week, too.

From Thursday:

Auden Tate again proved how he can be a physical presence in the red zone, beating William Jackson III’s great coverage in the corner with strong hands. Jackson III nearly broke the ball up, but Tate secured the ball and got both feet in. It was an exclamation point on a strong minicamp for the seventh-round pick.

And from Tuesday:

Auden Tate told everyone when he was drafted he could high-point a ball, and he showed that off on Tuesday. The seventh-round pick excelled in red zone situations and made some “wow” grabs that even had Andy Dalton asking a camera crew if they caught one reception on video.

As a fan you always want to exercise caution when talking about a seventh round pick for the Bengals making the 53-man roster. That’s especially true in the last two years when the Bengals had 11 draft picks in each class. Tate is also stuck at a position with some intense competition. Last year the Bengals had seven receivers on their roster, which was an extremely rare occurrence; typically only six receivers make the cut. The team has guys like A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and John Ross who are essentially locks to make the roster. That means Tate is competing with guys like Brandon LaFell, Alex Erickson, Josh Malone, Cody Core and Ka’Raun White. That isn’t insurmountable by any means, but LaFell, Erickson, Malone and Core have NFL experience and Bengals experience.

Having that redzone threat ability adds a huge amount of value to Tate overall. Is that enough to earn him a roster spot? Probably not by itself. It will be interesting if the team gives him a shot to line up in a slot-type role like they do with their tight ends. I can imagine his catch radius being valuable on seem routes that they often throw to Tyler Eifert. Although, he has to show the ability to run other routes from that position, too. You will see people suggesting he move to tight end because of his size, but making him a slot guy is a shorter way of getting there.

The Bengals could even run back shoulder routes for him near the sideline. It would be similar to what they did with Marvin Jones when he was with the team. Although, Jones was obviously more athletic than Tate.

One thing is for sure, Tate has caught the eyes of the coaches, media and fans. He is someone we will have to keep track of once training camp rolls around and the team starts putting pads on.