The Cincinnati Bengals must really like starting quarterback Andy Dalton. Even before they drafted him in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Bengals drafted wide receiver A.J. Green in the first round, giving Dalton a big target to rely on, as Green has quickly developed into one of the top wide receivers in the NFL. In the 2013 NFL Draft, despite having more pressing needs at other positions, Cincinnati drafted tight end Tyler Eifert, giving Dalton another tall and versatile receiver to throw the football to. Then in the sixth round of this year’s draft, Cincinnati selected Cobi Hamilton, another big wide receiver that could end up being an important target for Dalton and a great steal for the Bengals.
Hamilton was overshadowed for much of his Arkansas Razorbacks career by a trio of prolific wide receivers: Greg Childs, Jarius Wright, and Joe Adams. But as a senior, Hamilton had a breakout season as Tyler Wilson’s only reliable receiver. In 2012, he was first team All-SEC and a third team All-American, but somehow Hamilton fell all the way to the sixth round where the Bengals were lucky to get him.
With tight end Jermaine Gresham being Cincinnati’s second leading receiver last season, the Bengals could use a receiver on the outside to complement Green; Hamilton could be that guy. While Green uses his size, length, and speed to make plays, Hamilton uses his strength and physicality to win one-on-one battles against cornerbacks. Green can stretch the field vertically, while Hamilton isn’t afraid to venture across the middle of the field where he shows a quick burst after he catches the ball and has shown the ability to break tackles, turning short routes into big gains. Like Green, Hamilton hails from the SEC, so he should be able to make a quick transition to facing NFL cornerbacks as he saw plenty of them while in college.
The Bengals have a slew of wide receivers to play alongside Green, but Hamilton could prove to be the best of the group. He has an NFL body and is fearless in his battles against cornerbacks. It’s highway robbery that the Bengals were able to draft him in the sixth round as he is a great addition to their passing arsenal that gives Dalton one more big target to throw to.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him to your network on Google+.