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Film Room: Andrei Iosivas is not just a track star

Learn how to pronounce his name. You’re going to be doing it a lot.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals Rookie Minicamp The Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cincinnati Bengals doubled down at the wide receiver position, selecting Princeton’s Andrei Iosivas in the sixth round. As you can see below, this is a player with crazy athletic ability. He was an All-American heptathlete and set an NCAA record by running a 60-meter sprint in 6.71 seconds.

The Bengals’ interest in him was no secret. They spent a lot of time with him throughout the draft process. It was, however, a big surprise that such an athlete was still available this late in the draft.

Let’s take a look at what Iosivas can do on the field.

You don’t have to have an Ivey League education to understand pursuit angles. Long touchdowns are often prevented because a backside defender hustles at the right angle to intercept the ball carrier before he crosses the goal line.

I didn’t go to Harvard (although I will be seeing Foo Fighters there later this month), but I don’t need to get out my graph paper and slide rule to tell you that Harvard’s cornerback (on the lower left side of the screen as Iosivas makes the catch) is taking a good pursuit angle that should allow him to make the tackle between the 5 and 10-yard line. Iosivas’s speed, however, is a variable that the cornerback did not consider. His speed makes good angles look bad.

Iosivas is about to take a big step-up in the level of competition, but he is an elite athlete who can make plays at the highest level.

While Iosivas has had great success in track and field, make no mistake, he is a football player.

He has every opportunity to run out of bounds after making this catch for a first down, but instead, he lowers his shoulder and earns five more yards for his team.

I love seeing that physicality. He will need to use that same strength and develop as a blocker to make a big impact for the Bengals on Sundays.

He can deliver a hit, but he can also take a shot and hold on to the football.

Here, he runs a slant, and the ball comes in high and hard. The cornerback has lost inside leverage but is still right there with him and makes contact as the ball arrives. Iosivas maintains possession and falls forward into the end zone.

Here is another example of Iosivas pulling in a pass with the defense all over him.

The ball is thrown a little behind him, but Iosivas adjusts. The defender jumps on his back and brings his arm around to try to dislodge the ball but to no avail. Something he will certainly have to deal with at the NFL level.

Iosivas makes the catch for a big gain.

Iosivas has been called a developmental prospect. While he does need some polish, his skill set is much better than many would have you believe.

If you stare at the upper right-hand corner of the screen, you see a nice stem on this route. Iosivas pushes to the outside, making the cornerback think he is trying to make an outside release and run vertically up the sideline, but as the camera moves, you see that Iosivas has taken inside leverage and is running a post route. He tracks the ball and brings it in for the touchdown.

Iosivas is not a finished product, but he is no slouch, either. Troy Walters is an excellent coach, and one would assume that the Princeton wide receiver is a pretty good student. Iosivas could develop into a real weapon very quickly.

With the limited national exposure of the Princeton football program, I wanted to give you as many clips as possible, so instead of one example of Iosivas making an adjustment to pull in a deep ball, here are three. In all three examples, he is facing tight coverage.

In the first clip, he stops and makes a leaping catch, then drags the cornerback for another 12 yards.

The ball is thrown outside of him in the second clip, and he does a fantastic job of tracking it while simultaneously spinning his body around to make the sideline catch. That is an incredible play with two defenders all over him.

The defender reacts pretty well in the final clip, but Iosivas brings down the contested catch for a score.

Iosivas is not just a tremendous athlete, he is a skilled receiver. Under Troy Walters’ tutelage, he could develop into an excellent NFL wideout.