Minicamp in the NFL often features offensive guys going up for passes with no defenders or defenders who can’t actually tackle them.
Let’s just ignore that for a second and watch this pass that rookie seventh round pick Auden Tate reeled in during Bengals minicamp earlier this month.
Tate received more than his fair share of attention this spring, which we can certainly read into — and have. Some say he’s making a push toward the 53-man roster, others say he has a tight end’s body and should play there. Others are just wondering how he could actually make the team considering all the competition at wide receiver. All that said, most of the media who attended Bengals minicamp wrote about Tate being an impressive player and that’s enough for us to focus some attention his way this offseason.
There was also this quote from A.J. Green, which certainly adds fuel to the Tate-hype.
“We call him the a young Brandon Marshall,” Green said. “The guy has unbelievable hands. He’s big, great body control. He had a very good (minicamp).”
Tate had 957 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns in 2 seasons at Florida State, the second of which saw him playing through a separated shoulder. 2017 also saw him playing with a backup quarterback after starter Deondre Francois suffered a season-ending injury in the first game of the year. Tate isn’t fast (4.68 second 40-yard dash time) and can’t create good separation but his 6’5”, 228 pound frame is a big plus and could be something the Bengals use to their advantage, especially in the redzone. Tate could create some nice mismatches, similar to how Tyler Eifert does, but with Eifert’s health nearly always in question, the team could look to use Tate in similar ways.
The above play was so nice, the Bengals literally put it in their minicamp highlight reel twice.
Again, there are no defenders in sight on this play, but it’s a nice look at what Tate is capable of and what we’ll be keeping an eye on when training camp gets underway on July 26. It certainly seems like he’s motivated to go out and win a job on the 53-man roster.
“You always think you can play in the NFL but you never know until you get out there,” Tate said. “Now I know I can play with them. It just takes a lot of stress off me, so I’ll just go out there and play my game.”