2013 NFL Breakout Candidate: Cincinnati Bengals’ Mohamed Sanu
Mohamed Sanu had an interesting rookie season in 2012. While we was not featured early, he still managed to make a name for himself as in a Week-3 game against the Washington Redskins, Sanu threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to fellow wide receiver AJ Green on the first play of the game playing as a Wildcat Quarterback.
The next time Sanu would have a major impact on a game in the 2012 season, would be in a Week-10 game as the New Jersey native caught his first touchdown pass of his career against the New York Giants. Soon after, Sanu’s NFL rookie season would come to an end as he sustained a stress fracture, which would see him miss out on the Cincinnati Bengals playoff run.
While Sanu’s 2012 season ended early, it has done nothing to dampen the expectations of what he can be and is capable of producing as the flashes and versatility he exhibited have Bengals fans, teammates and coaches anxious to see him take the next step in this upcoming season.
There are a number of reasons to expect Sanu to be a breakout player for the Bengals in the upcoming season. First and foremost, it was clear that he was a favorite target of quarterback Andy Dalton whenever the Bengals threw the ball in the red zone. While he only had sixteen receptions in his first season, Sanu caught four of those for touchdowns, thereby cementing him as a legitimate target in the red zone.
At the time of his season ending injury, Sanu was starting to establish himself as a viable number-two wide receiver opposite of AJ Green. While the Bengals also have Andrew Hawkins and tight ends Jermaine Gresham and recently drafted Tyler Eifert, this will certainly mean that Sanu will see a lot of man coverage. With his ability to go over the middle and run good intermediate routes, Sanu should see a bump in the number of targets and receptions as a result.
Sanu is one of the rare wide receivers who can play either in the slot and or on the outside and feel comfortable in either position. Not only does his versatility limit where he lines up along the line, as his touchdown pass against the Redskins demonstrated, he can play as the quarterback in a Wildcat formation.
The Cincinnati Bengals have made the playoffs the last two seasons but have lost to the Houston Texans in the Wildcard round each time. A big reason for this success has been the fact that the organization has drafted well. One of those great draft pickups has been Mohamed Sanu.
The Bengals are a team poised and ready to take the next step and win the AFC North division. If that happens, it will be because a player like Sanu will have taken the next step and for that, he is a breakout candidate to watch and follow this upcoming season.
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