The NFL Draft isn’t about just teams drafting their biggest needs. Many of the better run teams are able to anticipate needs and draft players for depth that can eventually step into starting roles.
The Cincinnati Bengals are usually good about following that trend. Sometimes they miss the mark (see drafting Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher to potentially replace Andrew Whitworth), but they usually do a nice job of mixing drafting for need, the best player available and need down the line.
They have a potential to do that this year by adding a wide receiver to their talented wide receiver group that includes Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Ja’Marr Chase. One name to watch for reportedly is Nebraska wide receiver Samori Toure, according to Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson.
The Bengals are among teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, and San Francisco 49ers that have interest in the former Cornhusker.
Toure stands just over 6-foot tall, and ran a 4.48 40-yard dash. He has shown ability to make the catch at its highest point. However, it is interesting that in the Draft Network’s profile on Toure they list his ideal fit as a “big slot” who has ability to lineup across the formation.
That may sound quite familiar to Cincinnati fans. It actually describes Boyd pretty closely. Both players have similar builds and play similar roles. The sad truth is Boyd could very well be a cap casualty following next season. Even if he remains on the squad for 2023, it is hard to imagine the team being able to pay Joe Burrow, Higgins and Chase unless Boyd takes a team friendly deal, which he shouldn’t be expected to do. Toure could potentially come in and learn from Boyd for at least a season before being relied on in that slot receiver role.
This is the sad reality of the business side of the NFL. While Boyd will be a huge part of the 2022 season as he has been since emerging during the thriller that knocked the Baltimore Ravens out of the running for the 2017 playoffs. He has seen this team through some tough seasons, but his cap savings of over $8 million could help keep some of the younger talent in town.
The common knocks on Toure seem to be that he is light for his frame and lacking physicality. These are certainly things that will need corrected, especially consistency issues with contested catches. The last thing holding him back as a prospect is not having a great burst. He has speed, but it takes him time to reach that speed, which is likely why he gets slapped with that slot label as ideal.
It will be interesting to see how late Toure falls. It seems like him slipping to Day 3 is a likely outcome at this point, but anything is possible once that clock starts. Could Toure be headed to Cincinnati after the draft?