Bengals Gab 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ohio State CB Denzel Ward

Cornerbacks are always in high demand come draft night, and this year the 2018 draft will be no exception. One player that likely won’t last long is that of Ohio State Buckeyes CB Denzel Ward, a player who is quickly climbing the charts.

Ward is coming off a tremendous combine, and is known by many as the top CB in this year’s draft class. Here’s our official look at Ward and what he’ll bring to the table to the lucky team that grabs him this year in round one.

Here’s a Scouting Report from


OSU cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs told reporters last spring that Ward was a “gifted player” and truly a “third starter” at cornerback, joining 2017 first-round picks Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley. Ward proved his coach correct, earning first-team All-American and all-conference accolades in 2017 with 37 tackles, two for loss, two interceptions, and 15 pass breakups (ranked in the top 10 in the nation). He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten notice from league media as a non-starter in 2016, playing 30 snaps a game on defense. Ward tied Lattimore for the team lead with nine pass breakups on the year (23 tackles), never giving up on a play and being quite physical despite his average size for the position. Ward got onto the field as a true freshman, making seven tackles, primarily on special teams. Ward was a first-team All-Ohio pick and Division II Co-Defensive Player of the Year as a high school senior (nine interceptions, 18 pass breakups). He also qualified for the state track meet as a long jumper and part of the 4×400 relay.


Strengths Supreme athletic ability. Expected to be impressive Combine tester. Can park in a deep squat under wide receiver’s chin at the line. Patient from press showing no panic or hurry in initial movements. Can pedal and mirror for a long time without opening hips. Tremendously gifted footwork. Mirrors and matches with good balance throughout the route. Matches changing route speed stride for stride. Plays from low side of route to take away comebacks. Uses big burst for recovery and closeouts. Carries true long speed down the field. Reads clues from off-man. Reads slants and drives in front of the route in search of an interception. Allowed just over 32 percent completions over last two years. Ballhawk with sudden hands to attack the throw. Bats throws down and will swirl arms around the catch point to prevent target from finishing the catch.


Frame is somewhat slight and he feels small in coverage at times. Lacks play strength to jam and disrupt. Appears to avoid route contact so he doesn’t upset coverage balance. Physical receivers can body him around at the top of the route. Needs to turn and find football sooner with back to the ball. Always around the throw, but lack of size and length shows up with “just misses” in pass defense. Several pass breakups came on throws with poor placement. Coverage benefitted from deep, talented rush unit up front. Has issues disengaging from big blocking receivers. Big backs drag him for a ride in run support.

Draft Projection Round 1

NFL Comparison Chris Harris Jr.

Chat Sports takes a look at Ward:

The cocky cornerback was a monster in the Big 10 this year, racking up 15 pass deflections and a pick while completely locking down one half of the field. He’s electric, smart, and will be bonafide #1 CB in the NFL. Despite his lack of size, he’s a very physical corner and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He should be one of the first 10 picks in the upcoming NFL draft, but the only question for Ward at this point is what team he’s going to dominate on.


-Absurdly quick
-Excellent ball skills
-Has the swagger you want in a CB
-Big hitter
-Good blitzer when needed
-Very smart player


-Will struggle against physical receivers
-Not the most willing tackler
-Too timid in the run game
-Get blocked out of plays too easy
-Bigger WRs eat him up

Player Comparison: Chris Harris Jr.

NFL Draft Grade: 1st Round (#2 CB)

Projected Round: 1st

The Drafster on Ward:

Ohio State
Cornerback #12
Junior, 5’10” 191 pounds


Long and lean with the athleticism handle duties in the slot and along the perimeter
Production a product of his aggressive, competitive nature when the ball’s in the air
Easy mover with fluid movement skills, equal feet and loose hips that serve as catalysts for his ability to consistently mirror releases with ease
Elite burst and closing burst are evident when transitioning from his pedal to his downhill pursuit
Brings a battle to the catch-point with impressive savvy to directly play through pass-catcher’s hands
Plants himself in receivers’ pockets and remains in-phase down the field to consistently keep him in position to make a play
Understands how his responsibilities work in space and how to utilize leverage to generate turnovers when trailing
Springy leaper who times his attempts on throws with optimal timing


Frame is on the thinner side with room for further development
Timing remains a noticeable issue when getting his head around and locating the ball
Can transfer power through contact when he has space, but physicality as a run defender runs thin
Lack of overall girth has served as a hindrance when pressing and jamming bigger receivers
Requires further refinement when connecting his hands and feet to defend releases without panicking and grabbing in man
Has become reliant on explosion out of breaks to compensate for excessive steps

Pro comp: Jason Verrett

Draft projection: 1st Round

In a class of top-end talented corners, Ward is a name to stash away. He continues the recent run of impressive Buckeye corners that have been early selections and offer a potentially lengthy NFL career. Although he isn’t a physical specimen and is underwhelming size intensifies battles with receivers with the build advantage, Ward is supremely athletic and technically savvy to a degree that unquestionably warrants a first round selection. He can operate on both sides of the field and in the slot, increasing his value when considering his skill set that can succeed from a number of different coverage schemes. Ward has what it takes to find success in the league for a number of years.

Here’s the College Bio Page on Ward.

Some Quotes on Ward from


“Ward wasn’t high enough on my radar early in the year, but I went back and watched some tape from this season — and boy was I impressed. Spending last season behind Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker and Gareon Conley (all 2017 first-round picks), he didn’t get much playing time, but he has elite fluidity, quickness and recovery speed. He has closed the gap with Fitzpatrick and had 15 passes broken up (Fitzpatrick had eight).”


“Quick-twitch athlete with explosive movements in any direction. Owns track speed with immediate acceleration to close gaps – the ‘fastest guy’ at Ohio State during the Urban Meyer era, according to OSU strength and conditioning coach Mikey Marotti. Sudden, but composed with swivel hips and velvet feet to stay in phase with elusive receivers.

“Lacks ideal height and length for the outside, creating mismatch issues vs. bigger targets. Works hard in the weight room, but lacks ideal bulk and limb strength. Bad habit of grabbing cloth at the line of scrimmage or near the top of routes. Ward’s lack of inches shows at times in coverage and as a run defender, but he is a premier athlete with the budding instincts and required toughness to be trusted vs. NFL receivers on an island, either on the outside or in the slot. He is one of the top-three cornerbacks in this draft class.”

Bengals Ink Matt Barkley to Backup Andy Dalton at QB

The Bengals on Saturday quickly filled the need left open by the departure of AJ McCarron to Buffalo. They signed former USC quarterback Matt Barkley in a deal to compete to backup Andy Dalton, Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Barkley was drafted in the fourth round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. This will mark his fifth team in six seasons.

His only starting experience game during a six-game run with the Bears in 2016. Chicago went 1-5 during the season with eight touchdowns against 14 interceptions and a QB rating of 68.3.

Bengals Deal with Bills for LT Cordy Glenn, Swapping First-Round Picks

Monday was a busy day for the Bengals, as they moved back in the first-round of the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, making a deal with the Bills and getting left tackle Cordy Glenn.

As part of the trade, the Bengals and Bills agreed to swap first-round picks, with Buffalo receiving the No. 12 overall selection and Cincinnati receiving No. 21 overall, a source confirmed to ESPN. The Bengals also get the Bills’ fifth-round pick (No. 158) and the Bills get the Bengals’ sixth-round pick (187th).

The Bills now own the 12th and 22nd selections in the first round, as well as two second-round picks (Nos. 53 and 56) and two third-round picks (Nos. 65 and 96).

Bengals Gab 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Louisville QB Lamar Jackson

He could be this season’s Kordell Stewart, a player who can play both quarterback, and at a moment’s notice shift to being a wide receiver.

He’s Lamar Jackson, who just wrapped up a solid college career that saw him throw 9043 yards in three college seasons with 69 touchdowns, and he’s ready to make an impact on the team that drafts him come late April.

Jackson is a possible game breaker of a player, but at what position and how long he’ll have to be developed are two big questions about him, and if a team is patient, they may get a player that could stretch the field either under center or lined out wide.

Here’s our report on Jackson, a player to watch in this seasons draft.

Walter Football’s breakdown of Jackson

In speaking with a general manager from an AFC team, they said that Jackson is the most dynamic player in the 2018 NFL Draft. With amazing running ability, speed, and a powerful arm, Jackson is a rare talent who possesses a phenomenal skill set. While he made highlight-reel plays on a routine basis, some in the media have criticized him to the point that he may not be a high first-rounder and could slip to the middle or back portion of the first round. Some analysts have even suggested Jackson should move to another position. However in speaking with team sources, multiple top executives and scouts think that Jackson is being undervalued and definitely can stay as a quarterback in the NFL.

Jackson broke into the starting lineup as a freshman and completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,543 yards with 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions. That season, he also ran for 960 yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging 5.9 yards per carry. In 2016, Jackson set college football on fire while winning the Heisman Trophy. The sophomore was a massive point-producer for the Cardinals. Jackson completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,543 yards with 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions on the year. He also ran for 21 touchdowns and 1,571 yards while averaging six yards per carry.

Jackson’s 2017 was comparable to his Heisman winning season although he wasn’t even invited to New York as a finalist for the sham award, which effectively excludes linemen and defensive players. In 2017, Jackson completed 59 percent of his passes for 3,660 yards with 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He averaged 6.9 yards per carry on the ground on his way to 1,601 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns.

Sources from around the league acknowledged that Jackson was a one-man team. Louisville did not have a good running game and fielded a bad offensive line that allowed steady heat on Jackson. Poor receivers consistently dropped well-thrown passes, and that kept Jackson from completing 60 percent of his passes. While a poor supporting cast is used to help justify some of the underwhelming numbers for Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, the same benefit of the doubt doesn’t seem to get extended to Jackson.

Of the top quarterback prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft, Jackson has the most athletic ability and dual-threat danger to give defenses huge problems. He has elite arm strength with a powerful gun that can make devastating throws. Jackson’s arm is so strong that he can make throws off platform that other quarterback can only make after having set their feet. With just a flick of the wrist, the ball explodes out of Jackson’s hands, and he can beat good coverage with perfect throws that very few quarterbacks can make. Jackson also hangs tough in the pocket while staring down the barrel to deliver passes while under the pass rush. He showed good field vision to work through progressions with pocket presence and patience to let routes develop. Jackson can buy time with his feet, and so many of his highlights are dominated by runs, but Jackson has a devastating arm to hurt defenses downfield. He also has run a complicated college offense under Bobby Petrino, displaying full command for the system.

A First Look Scouting Report from

What I liked: Jackson primarily aligns in the shotgun/pistol, but he does take some snaps from under center. He shows quick feet in his drop and has an explosive/snap delivery. He can generate plenty of velocity without incorporating much of his lower half. He flashes the ability to accurately drive the ball into tight windows.

He has tremendous upside as a passer but his ability to make plays with his legs is what makes him special. He has Mike Vick-type explosiveness when he takes off on designed QB runs or scrambles. He gets up to top speed immediately and destroys pursuit angles from opposing safeties. He isn’t quite as shifty as Vick, but he is just as fast in a straight line.

Where he needs to improve: Jackson has a ways to go to develop into a consistently accurate passer. He has a bad habit of locking out his front leg, screwing himself into the ground and falling off throws. This dramatically affects his ball placement and touch. He flashes the ability to work to Nos. 2-3 in his progression, but usually if No. 1 isn’t there, he looks to run. In his defense, the pass protection at Louisville was terrible at times (see Houston game).

The other major concern about Jackson is his thin frame. He is very wiry and he’ll need to add some bulk to withstand a 16-game schedule at the next level. The same things were said about Deshaun Watson early in his college career. He packed on plenty of bulk before leaving Clemson and hopefully Jackson will do the same.

Biggest takeaway: I don’t use the Mike Vick comparison lightly. Vick is the most explosive quarterback to ever play the position. Jackson has that type of dynamic speed. However, Vick was a more polished passer and Jackson has some mechanical improvements that need to be made before he’ll be capable of matching Vick’s professional success. If Jackson can clean some of these issues up, watch out!

I can’t wait to see him play … Clemson on Sept. 16. Jackson put on an impressive display against the Tigers last fall, but Louisville came up a little short against the eventual national champions. This time, Jackson gets to play the Tigers at home. Last year, a highly rated Florida State squad came to Louisville and got thrashed. That was probably the moment that won Jackson the Heisman Trophy. If he leads his team to a win over Clemson this year, his campaign for a second consecutive Heisman would receive a huge jolt.

Some Highlights of Jackson:

Luke Easterling makes the Case for Jackson being the Best Player of the Draft:

First, I’d like to thank you for actually opening this article and beginning to read, rather than seeing the headline and angrily quote-tweeting “yur an moran” along with the link.

Let’s proceed.

The 2018 quarterback class got tons of hype this past offseason, with the likes of UCLA’s Josh Rosen, USC’s Sam Darnold, Wyoming’s Josh Allen and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph all getting top-10 projections from many outlets and analysts.

Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield has even shot up the invisible in-season draft board on his way to winning this year’s Heisman Trophy.

The four names I mentioned before have all shown flashes of brilliance this season, but have also provided far more head-scratching moments than many expected. From questionable decision-making and costly turnovers to injuries and inconsistency across the board, the flaws of this year’s top passers have been more evident than their strengths in 2017.

But while Rosen and Darnold continue to dominate the talk of who should go No. 1 overall, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson has been quietly putting together another fantastic season, showing the kind of marked improvement as a passer that should have him firmly planted in that conversation.

Instead, we’ve been forced to endure the tired but unsurprising barrage of “he’ll have to move to wide receiver at the next level” takes. Nobody’s talking about the athletic, talented but raw Allen needing to switch positions at the next level, but Jackson? Oh, definitely.

Before we go any further, let me make this clear: Lamar has flaws. Ugly ones, at times. He’s inconsistent, can be wildly inaccurate, and makes some head-scratching throws. Hell, he’s thrown two odious interceptions against Mississippi State in the TaxSlayer Bowl since I started writing this.

You feel more comfortable drafting the Blaine Gabberts, Christian Ponders, EJ Manuels, Brady Quinns, J.P. Losmans, Kyle Bollers, Joey Harringtons, Patrick Ramseys, JaMarcus Russells, Tim Couches, Akili Smiths, Ryan Leafs, Jason Campbells, Cade McNowns and Jim Druckenmillers?

Knock yourself out.

I’d rather ride or die with a player who could break the mold and become something the league has never seen before.

Again, he’s not perfect. He still needs refinement, and he’ll have bumps along the way. There’s plenty of “boom-or-bust” to his game, but he’s absolutely no more of a risky pick than any other quarterback in this class.

I’m not saying he will be a first-round pick. I’m not saying he’ll be an immediate NFL star, the next Deshaun Watson or a 10-time Pro Bowler who revolutionizes the position. I’m just saying he’s capable of everything we’re projecting for Rosen, Darnold and the rest of the bunch, if not just a little bit more.

Another Scouting Report from The Drafster:

Lamar Jackson is one of the most electrifying play makers in this years draft. Not only is he a solid passer, but he has no problem beating you with his legs. In his previous two years where he had more control of the offense, he passed for 7,203 yards with 57 touchdowns along with 19 interceptions, while running for 3,172 yards and 39 touchdowns. His running ability is likely more responsible for his hype rather than his passing ability.

However, if he wants to adapt to the NFL, Jackson will have to earn to survive without his legs as often. In his sophomore year of college, Jackson had 260 rushing attempts, his junior year he had 232 attempts. In the NFL, he will never see that many attempts, and never should. He has a special talent with running the ball, he has the speed and the elusiveness. This skill should definitely still get put to use, it just needs to be turned down multiple notches.

As said earlier, his running ability has probably accounted for more of his hype than his actual passing has. However this isn’t a fair claim. Lamar has nice velocity on his delivery that can get the ball into a tight window. He has very good accuracy on his short to mid-depth passes, but struggles with his deep ball at times. His on target down the field passes will be some of the most well placed throws you’ll see. His off the target passes downfield are usually barely off but still inconsistent nonetheless.

As far as his skills in the pocket, you’ve of course got the good and you got the bad. On one hand, he has a very good sense for when the pass rush is getting to close, and he’ll either get the ball off right then and there, or he will take off. On the other hand he could use some improvement on his footwork. When dropping back, his feet seem to move slightly slower than you would like, which is the cause for his inaccurate passes. On top of footwork, I noticed whenever he would decide to bolt out of the pocket and run, he would stumble out of his break. As a runner his feet are fine, but while working in the pocket it needs improvement.

Jackson is by no means a finished project and will probably take a season or two to achieve what he is capable of. But it is promising seeing how dynamic of a player he is even with his flaws. If he were thrown into a starter role, I see his rookie year being one of those seasons where certain games he will light up the scoreboard, but then a week later he struggles heavily.

Current Draft Value: Mid to late 2nd rounder.

Bengals Wide Out John Ross Looking for Big Second Season for Cincinnati

One year after he was the star of the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, wide receiver John Ross is hoping to put his disastrous rookie season behind him according to Lakisha Jackson of

Ross became the combine’s speed king last year after breaking running back Chris Johnson’s record of 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash with 4.22 seconds. The startling performance was a key factor in the Bengals selecting the former University of Washington star as the 9th-overall pick in the draft despite his fragile build (5’11’, 190 pounds) and injury history. Draft day was the peak of Ross’s first year with the Bengals as he was limited to just 17 snaps, no catches and one fumble for the year in only three games and seemed to earn his way deep into the doghouse of head coach Marvin Lewis.

Ross blames his poor performance last season on missing a portion of the offseason program due to NFL rules and his late start for training camp after rushing back from undergoing shoulder surgery in March. “That was the problem. My body didn’t respond the way I wanted it to,” Ross stated. “Coming in late, I didn’t get to train. I was out of shape. That was pretty tough on my body. Rushing into it. Being out of shape. My body couldn’t take the physical aspects of the game we do every day. I thought I could. I think it kind of wore me out faster than I thought. I really didn’t catch up until the end of the year when I started to have better practices. It all started to click together. It was already kind of too late. It was best to rest, get my body right.”

He has since had surgery on his other shoulder and is looking forward to proving his value in his sophomore season. “I’m looking forward to August. I don’t really care what the combine is talking about,” Ross said. “… I’ve been through a lot last year. But it’s a new year. A lot of new things coming. The emphasis from last year looks to be change.” Ross is still only 22 years old and neither the Bengals or the NFL at large is ready to label him as a bust. At this point, his stock has nowhere to go but up for a team in desperate need of playmakers other than A.J. Green.

Bengals Gab 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson

While there’s plenty of stars in the 2018 NFL Draft in April, there’s also going to be one big-name player taking up space on the offensive line, and that’s Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, who some say could be the second-best prospect in this year’s draft.

It didn’t take Nelson long to prove himself, as back when he was a redshirt freshmen it was reported that he had quite the mean streak, something that could prove him well when it gets drafted.

Here’s more on Nelson as we get you set for this year’s NFL Draft:

A quick Career Recap on Nelson from Walter Football:

Career Recap: Typically in an NFL draft, interior offensive linemen have a shot at going in the back half of the first round. An exception was the 2013 NFL Draft, which saw four guards get selected in the top 25 with two in the top 10. The 2017 NFL Draft was a rare year in the opposite fashion as no guards or centers were selected in the first round; the first guard didn’t come off the board until the 38th-overall pick when the Chargers took Forrest Lamp. A lot was made about the 2017 NFL Draft being weak at offensive tackle, but it was an odd year on the inside as there wasn’t a lot of interior talent either. One of the reasons for the lack of high-end talent was Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson deciding to return for his senior year.

If Nelson had declared for the 2017 NFL Draft, he would have been the top-rated guard and probably would have been a Thursday night selection. In this analyst’s opinion, Nelson is a much better prospect than Lamp. Over the past two seasons, Nelson has been an excellent guard for Notre Dame, making an impact as a blocker at the point of attack.

Nelson played well in 2015 in his first season as a starter, but he was dominant in 2016. He moved defenders at the point of attack in the ground game and was rock solid in pass protection.

Some Career Highlights from 2016:

Here’s a scouting report on Nelson from Fox Sports:

Quenton Nelson is a thick and powerful offensive line prospect. He’s the true definition of a road-grader thanks to his ability to move defenders off the line of scrimmage. Nelson is a perfect fit for a team looking to feature a power running game.

His dominance as a run blocker starts with his low pad level which he uses to help him roll his hips and deliver a jolt. That initial jolt is more effective because Nelson is committed to gaining inside hands. He then velcros to this target and generates a push.

Nelson’s heavy hands make it difficult for the defender to disengage and help him control the action. This is also a nasty player who plays to the whistle and wants to deliver punishment.

For his size, Nelson does a good job working off the initial block and climbing to the second level. He reaches linebackers under control and balanced. This helps him ensure that he doesn’t miss blocks or allow the linebacker to streak past him.

With the First Pick on what they See From Nelson:

Quenton Nelson isn’t a flashy player but is someone who gets the job done. He is one of the more physical players in the 2018 NFL Draft. It’s this physicality and his proper technique that make him an excellent run blocker.

Nelson is a beast in the trenches who can generate a push off the line of scrimmage. He is committed to gaining inside hands, maintaining a strong base and keeping his feet moving. His sound technique is one of the main reasons why he is so effective.

As a run blocker, Nelson doesn’t just use brute force to move defenders. He also has a good feel for angles and can seal the defender from the play. Nelson features enough athleticism to get out on the move and reach the 2nd level.
More from With the First Pick

However, there is some stiffness to his game which limits his overall range. Nelson’s size and bulk can result in some plotting movements. He just isn’t an overly explosive athlete which could hurt his overall versatility

Nelson grades out at 7.4 on’s Draft Profile, here’s what they had to say about him:


Defensive linemen facing Nelson and Mike McGlinchey on the left side of the Irish’s line usually had a long day ahead of them. Nelson is a tough New Jersey kid who earned second-team USA Today All-American honors as a high school senior and was ranked in the top 50 overall recruits nationally as a guard. Notre Dame didn’t need him to suit up as a freshman, however, so he redshirted. Nelson got his chance in 2015, starting 11 of 12 games played at left guard (missing parts of two games with an ankle injury) next to 2016 first-round pick Ronnie Stanley. He and McGlinchey then manned the left side in all 12 games of the Irish’s disappointing 2016 season, though scouts weren’t disappointed with Nelson’s ability to move the line of scrimmage low and strong, as well as force defenders to the ground with regularity.


Strengths Built like a bank safe with wide hips, broad chest and powerful limbs. Known for intimidating power. Rarely beaten by power alone. Comes out of the blocks with good pad level. Unlocks powerful hips into contact. Can forklift defenders out of the gap creating massive running lanes. Extremely aggressive at point of attack and isn’t happy until he is imposing his will. Premier double team blocker along with teammate Mike McGlinchey. Uses plus leg drive to cave-in down blocks. Moves laterally and in space with adequate fluidity. Works his feet and hips into position to keep blocks secured. Has core strength and body control to make rare recoveries when beaten. Field aware and able to adjust his assignment. Pass sets from desired posture with wide base and evenly distributed weight. Punch is compact and powerful. Fires hands like pistons and is almost always first into the frame with jolt and extension. Able to lock out rushers and maintain complete control with quality mirror through rep. Has hand strength to snatch and sustain in pass pro and run game.
Weaknesses Has a tendency to drop his head into contact in front of him. Will lose sight of his target and whiff against slanting, arm-over specialists. Was on the ground more than he should be against Wake Forest defensive tackles looking to shoot gaps. Has a slight hitch when coming out of his stance as a pull blocker. Lingers on secure blocks a fraction too long before moving up to linebackers. May have to expedite his pace against NFL defenses. Still room for improvement in pass protection and keeping athletic rushers centered. Has had some injury concerns over the years.

Bengals QB AJ McCarron on Now Being a Free Agent: ‘It’s Just Business’

AJ McCarron greeted an arbitrator’s ruling that set him free with a mixture of relief, anticipation, and gratefulness, Geoff Hobson of

“To get the chance to be able to show what I can do and get out there and compete, that’s really all you want as a player,” McCarron said. “I’m just so glad the waiting is over and now my family and I can get on with the next chapter in our lives.”

McCarron garnered the enormous respect of his coaches and teammates in Cincinnati with a big presence and an even bigger heart fiercely committed to the game and the work that goes with it. So it was no surprise he said Thursday that he’s not looking for the biggest payday but for the best situation. If you’ve been listening to him that last few seasons, that means starting and he knows the Bengals are sticking with Andy Dalton.

It was also no surprise he talked warmly of his days in Cincinnati, despite what turned out to be an amicable grievance.

“It was just business,” McCarron said. “They had to do what was best for them and I had to do what was best for me. It was never anything personal. I loved the city, loved the fans, loved everything about it. It’s an awesome place to play.”

Bengals Gab 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: UCLA QB Josh Rosen

Some say that UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is going to be the top pick in the draft since (per usual) the Browns have the top pick and (per usual) need a quarterback.

But then again they may let him slip, or go with another QB meaning that Rosen, who this last season threw for 3756 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 picks will be free, and who knows what team could try to move up and draft the 21-year-old from Manhattan Beach, California.

Here’s a look at Rosen and what various places are saying about him. Scouting Report


One of the top recruits of the 2015 class, Rosen decided to stay close to home to play his ball in Westwood. He was a first-team USA Today All-American as a high school senior, throwing for 3,186 yards and 29 touchdowns while his St. John Bosco squad won the California State Championship. UCLA coaches saw enough of his talent in the spring of 2015 (he graduated from high school one semester early) that they made him the first Bruin freshman opening-weekend starter ever. He won Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and several Freshman All-American honors after setting several school records and completing 60 percent (292-487) of his passes for 3,668 yards and 23 touchdowns (11 interceptions). Despite being only a freshman, he was in command of the offense and used his NFL size and arm to sling the ball all over the field. Rosen’s sophomore season had its peaks (400 passing yards against Arizona State) and valleys (three interceptions vs. Texas A&M), and eventually ended with a season-ending injury to his throwing shoulder after six starts (59.3 completion percentage, 1,915 yards, 10 touchdowns, five interceptions). The surgery to his shoulder was not considered major, so he was throwing effectively in spring 2017 practices. Rosen had the performance of the year in the season’s opening weekend, leading the Bruins in an amazing 45-44 comeback win with 491 passing yards and four touchdowns. He struggled over a four-game stretch at the start of the Pac-12 season, throwing eight of his 10 interceptions on the year. He did earn second-team All-Pac-12 notice, however, by completing 62.6 percent of his passes (283-452), throwing 26 touchdowns, and ranking second in the country with 341.5 passing yards a game (3,756 total). Rosen also suffered two concussions during the year, missing one regular season contest and their bowl game against Kansas State.


Strengths Tennis prodigy with impeccable footwork and delivery balance. Plays with excellent coordination between eyes and feet. Gets head around quickly on play-fakes. Has experience under center. Anchors in pocket and doesn’t creep around needlessly. Trusts his protection and doesn’t take eyes of targets when pressure mounts from the edge. Climbs pocket when appropriate. Willing to stand and deliver in face of pressure. Completed 63 percent of his passes when blitzed in 2017. Accuracy totals negatively impacted by 31 receiver drops this year. Holds his water in pocket. Mechanics are terrific. Rarely over-strides and throws with consistently bent front knee. Throwing motion and follow-through are effortless. Extremely confident and intelligent. Throws receivers open. Might be best back shoulder thrower in the game. Shows ability to speed up operation time for move to next level. Very good usage of shoulder fakes and hitches to move defenders or buy additional time for receivers to uncover. Touch passer who can throw feathers when needed.


Durability is a concern. Carries slight build and has had injury issues dating back to high school. Carries ball low in pocket with slight upward pre-throw hitch. Too casual in pocket set-up. Decision making and post-snap reads are inconsistent. Refuses easy throws at times. Arm talent and strength are below average. May need to make greater effort to drive field and seam throws. Poor career deep ball completion rate. Excess air under ball allows challenges. Lacks gun to challenge safeties with rip throws over the top. Needs better anticipation. Poor mobility. Struggles to elude early pressure. Completed just 42.4 percent of his throws when forced to move. Too much hero ball. Extends plays and takes unnecessary chances rather than throwing it away. Scouts question his passion for football and whether he will be a willing student.

ESPN’s Take on Rosen

2017 stats: 283 of 452 passing (62.6 percent) for 3,756 yards, with 26 touchdowns, 10 interceptions; two rushing touchdowns, three lost fumbles; 67.1 Total QBR (No. 42 in FBS)

Who is this guy, and why should we care?

Rosen caught everyone’s attention with a 3,670-yard freshman season in 2015. NFL scouts love the way he looks in the pocket — his footwork, throwing motion, anticipation and accuracy. After an injury-plagued 2016 season, he rebounded in 2017 with numbers nearly identical to those he put up as a freshman. Injuries set in again, though, and with Chip Kelly and a new coaching staff on the way in, Rosen will enter the draft. He’s enough of a prospect to merit consideration at No. 1 overall.

Kiper’s draft ranking: No. 2 QB and No. 5 overall prospect. From Kiper’s Mock Draft 1.0: “Rosen is the top pure passer in this class. He looked better than Darnold when UCLA and USC played late in the season.”

McShay’s draft ranking: No. 1 QB and No. 1 overall prospect. From McShay’s Top 32: “Rosen is far superior [than Darnold] going through his progressions and has a pretty deep ball. He’s a better QB right now, but that doesn’t mean he will be down the line.” on Rosen

Josh Rosen should be the No. 1 pick in the draft. From a talent, acumen and film perspective, he’s the best in this year’s deep quarterback class.

If the Browns were smart, they’d take him and not look back. But there’s a reason the Browns are the Browns, and Rosen’s personality concerns are real. So as the rumors of Cleveland’s infatuation with Wyoming’s Josh Allen get louder, it seems increasingly likely Rosen won’t be their pick.

The measurables

No concerns with Rosen’s frame. He’s 6-4 and 218. He’ll likely pack on a few more pounds once he gets with an NFL strength and conditioning coach. But he has the height to see over the offensive line, and the weight to withstanding punishment from the defense.

The Stats

Unlike Sam Darnold, Rosen enjoyed his best statistical season this past year. Despite playing on an undermanned UCLA offense, he threw for 3,756 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He completed a career-high 62.6 percent of his passes, and had a quarterback rating of 147.0.

NFL Draft Diamonds


Rosen was the best Quarterback on the Bruins roster in the Spring of 2015 and was expected to fill in for 3-year starter Brett Hundley. Rosen would go on to have an impressive 2015 season going 245 pass attempts without an interception. As a freshman, he passed for 3,670 yards, 23 touchdowns, and completed 60 percent of his passes. He would go on to be named Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the year, as well as earning Freshman All American honors. He would injure his shoulder the following year midway through the season as a sophomore and would go on to miss the remainder of the 2016 season. In 2017 he would go on to pass for 3717 yards and 26 touchdowns. The highlight of his 2017 season saw Rosen lead a 35 point comeback against Texas A&M.


Rosen has the skill set to be a franchise Quarterback in the NFL. Rosen can be an accurate passer who can make throws in tight coverage and is poised in the pocket. Has a big arm. Throws a tight clean spiral. Has height to see over his offensive line. Has a good quick release on the ball. Can make strong and accurate throws on the run. Will take chances on some plays which can be a big trait in the NFL. Not very mobile but can keep plays alive by moving outside the pocket. Keeps his eyes down field even when under pressure.


Struggles and hesitates when under pressure. Takes to many risks when under pressure. Is not a very consistent accurate passer. Can avoid pressure but not very quickly and relies too heavily on his offensive line to keep plays alive. Has questionable decision making that has led him to turning the ball over. Rosen needs to improve his vision for the NFL. He Suffered a shoulder injury his sophomore season that required him to miss the remainder of the 2016 season. One of his biggest weaknesses is his poor intangibles as a bad teammate and a leader.