Some fans and evaluators projected the Bengals to add a running back during the draft with Cincinnati preparing for Joe Mixon to holdout. (Note: Mixon himself hasn’t said that he will be holding out.)
Still, the Bengals never drafted a running back.
Instead, they opted to sign Arkansas running back Devwah Whaley as an undrafted free agent.
Arkansas RB Devwah Whaley is signing with Bengals per source. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) April 26, 2020
Whaley is an interesting signing. There was a lot of hype surrounding him early on at Arkansas, when he rushed for over 600 yards his freshman season. However, instead of taking steps forward, Whaley ended up rushing for less yards each season that followed. He suffered an ankle injury his junior season, which seemingly left him out of favor as he only had 69 rushing attempts as a senior.
During Arkansas’ Pro Day, he ran a 4.62 40-yard dash, which shows one of the big flaws in Whaley’s game. He is a throwback one-cut running back. He doesn’t really have that top-end speed to make him one of the sought after running backs in the NFL. He also has a real lack of wiggle in making people miss. Most times when he hits the hole, he goes until he hits someone.
Whaley’s route to the roster or special teams is more based on how he performs on special teams. He should be a semi valuable kickoff and punt cover player. That straight line speed and readiness to hit someone is pretty valuable there.
The Bengals could also holdout hope they can tap into the talent many saw in him to make him a four star prospect coming out high school, but don’t look for him to be playing major snaps anytime soon.