I’m going to start out by saying that Arkansas wide receiver Cobi Hamilton is absolutely and unequivocally a gem for the Cincinnati Bengals. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft despite having a fourth round projection on him, Hamilton has already made it onto the ‘must watch’ list after only a few short weeks of minicamps and OTAs.
During the rookie minicamp, the media had largely good things to say about the receiver, stating that offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was impressed with his performance, and although pre-draft reports about his catching suggested that he often had difficulty catching passes that were not fired straight at him, he managed to make a good impression to everyone in attendance by lining up as an outside receiver and catching a lot of passes in heavy traffic.
Hamilton is not at a stage in his development where he will be looking to take a top spot in the depth chart, but it is already becoming evident that he will beat out third year receiver Ryan Whalen, so next he will need to set his sites on Andrew Hawkins and Marvin Jones and look to move them farther down the register if he expects to get his hands on a football at all this season.
The Bengals are looking to move towards a new two-tight end set, giving Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham a large amount of the ball up the middle of the field. They also seem to intend on using A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu as deep threats and red zone threats, so Hamilton will need to fight his way up from the bottom of the depth chart past Hawkins and Jones in order for them to see any playing time. At this point, the early indications show that he may be able to fight his way past Hawkins during training camp, only time will tell how high he will climb.
Stuck at the back of the Arkansas depth chart, full of excellent wide receivers for his first three years, Hamilton did not get his opportunity to prove that he was an excellent receiver until his breakout senior year, when he caught passes totaling 1,335 yards and five touchdowns. Although he is not as fast as some of the NFL’s top receivers, Hamilton is able to use his strength to make plays for the ball, unlike other down-field threats in the NFL.
Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals Writer. You can follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88