After the Cincinnati Bengals had their 3rd week of OTAs, it is clear they want to rely on the younger players. There have been interesting strides for rookie Safety Jessie Bates and second year wide receiver Josh Malone.
In week three Teryl Austin has put Jessie Bates on the safety position. This was due to the injury to Shawn Williams. Jessie Bates played free safety in college but has been put in the strong safety role. He has been playing lights out as far as how easy it is to adapt. He will start in place of Williams when training starts. I cant wait to see what he does in live contact and in the first pre-season game.
Most of the OTAs have matched Josh Malone with William Jackson III. Josh Malone had a poor rookie season but we can blame that not on his ability but on the offensive line and having no time for Andy Dalton to throw the football. Josh has been getting open and his routes are getting very polished. Putting him against the Bengals better cover guys makes them want more out of the wide receiver from Tennessee. His great hands and very good route running would make me believe they want him to make the team and maybe fight for that third receiver.
Jessie Bates already reminds me of a mini David Fulcher. He has shown he can play both safety positions and he has played some hybrid situations. He will be great in different defensive schemes. It will help that weak Line backer core with coverage on the tight ends and running backs. Now how hard does Jessie Bates hit? We wont know if he hits like Fulcher till they get the pads on.
Josh Malone reminds me of another wide receiver from Tennessee. Reminder Carl Pickens in the 90s. Josh has the hands , has the speed, and has disciplined route running just like Pickens but without the bad attitude. He knows he has to shine with a couple of other receivers shining past him last season.