Perhaps the biggest surprise on the Bengals 53-man roster was quarterback Jake Dolegala. The rookie has elite size and a live arm, but he went undrafted out of Central Connecticut State. He has impressed ever since rookie camp and could be an excellent developmental prospect.
Let’s take a look at how Dolegala made the team.
Dolegala shows not only his arm strength but his accuracy on this deep pass to Cody Core. Core releases wide and streaks down the sideline. Dolegala puts some air underneath the ball to make sure it goes over the cornerback’s head and drops it right into Core’s hands. It is key that he did not lead too much, because that would have created an opportunity for the safety to get over the top.
Great touch on this Dolegala pass pic.twitter.com/kfJVqYcadv— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) September 1, 2019
In the clip, Dolegala throws another beauty down the sideline. He hits Ventell Bryant perfectly in stride.
Dolegala to Bryant down the sidelines pic.twitter.com/nD2ub3I15I— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) September 1, 2019
While his read was a bit questionable, Dolegala shows that he can zip the ball in with some speed on this one. Bryant is covered tightly to the inside so Dolegala rockets the ball just outside of him. Bryant has to turn quickly and make a difficult catch on the high and hard pass, but the placement and speed of the pass keeps it away from the defender.
Dolegala zips this on in to Bryant pic.twitter.com/VfGUFS8nXF— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) September 1, 2019
At 6-7 242, Dolegala has prototypical size, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t move. On this boot, he shows his athleticism and more importantly his ability to throw accurately on the move as he hits tight end Jordan Franks for a nice gain.
Dolegala to Franks on the boot pic.twitter.com/jkTOpNf1VV— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) September 1, 2019
Twice this preseason, he demonstrated great touch by throwing goal line fade routes for touchdowns. The first clip shows Dolegala dropping the ball right over the cornerback’s head to Damion Willis. In the second clip, the ball goes right over Josh Malone’s outside shoulder. Two great throws!
“That’s baby making music” - Ron Burgundy pic.twitter.com/DoNh3f0D9v— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) August 23, 2019
As you can see, Dolegala has an excellent arm. It is worth noting that all but one of the above passes were thrown to players who did not make the final roster. Dolegala has seen limited action against limited competition, but showed enough to intrigue coaches and fans alike.
Dolegala has a ton of potential and could be a great developmental prospect. Kudos to the Bengals for finding a gem after the draft.