clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bengals send James Casey to Houston’s pro day

The Bengals sent their tight ends’ coach to checkout one of this year’s brightest prospects.

NCAA Football: Tulane at Houston Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Houston University had its pro day on Thursday, and while most teams sent their head coaches or various defensive coach, the Bengals sent their tight end coach James Casey.

That may seem like an odd choice at first, but when you consider how connected Casey is with football in Houston, it makes a little more sense.

As Mark Berman alludes to, Casey has spent quite a long time in Houston. He essentially played football there from 2007 (when he played at Rice) until the 2012 season when he and the Texans parted ways.

When Casey was done playing football, he became an assistant coach for Houston. First as an offensive analyst in 2016, then as a special teams coordinator in 2017, and finally in 2018, his job expanded to include the tight end position.

The Bengals essentially sent a guy who was on the coaching staff responsible for Ed Oliver over his career at Houston to gather information on Houston’s prospects.

Of course, the main attraction was defensive lineman Ed Oliver, who is viewed by many as a top five talent who has a very reasonable chance of falling out of the top 10. He is an undersized defensive tackle who as earned high praise with the comparison to Aaron Donald.

Whether that is an accurate comparison can be debated. What can’t be is just how athletic Oliver proves to be. The lowest his 40-yard dash was timed at was 4.71 seconds, but the consensus put it at 4.75, which is still a mind boggling time for a defensive tackle.

Oliver dominated college football with 53 tackles for a loss and 13 sacks over his three year career at Houston. He only missed four seasons his final year, and he had a total of 122 tackles. He did it while fighting constant double teams.

If the Bengals opt to wait to draft a linebacker, Oliver seems like a very likely value pick by Cincinnati. He could theoretically rotate in behind Geno Atkins, and the two could share the field on passing downs, which has become a more frequent down that teams need to plan for.

Oliver would also take the reigns as the star defensive tackle once Atkins ultimately retires or moves on when his contract ends. Oliver would also set a great tone for the future as a quality foundation piece.

The pick would also continue the Bengals love affair with Houston players as they already have William Jackson and Brandon Wilson on their defense. Oliver would fit in nicely.