The Cincinnati Bearcats put together a magical run during the 2021 college football season. After going 13-0, they made the CFB Playoff only to lose to Alabama in the Cotton Bowl. However, thanks to a plethora of talent on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, the Bearcats’ list of prospects likely to hear their name called during the 2022 NFL Draft is long. Here are the Cincinnati scouting reports for their draft prospects, including Ahmad Gardner and Desmond Ridder.
Cincinnati 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
A quarterback prospect, an elite cornerback, and a dominant wide receiver highlight the Cincinnati scouting reports for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Ahmad Gardner, CB
Positives: Tall, athletic corner who showed tremendous progress in his game the past two seasons. Very aggressive, flips his hips transitioning off the line, and battles opponents throughout the route. Stays on the receiver’s hip out of breaks, tracks the pass in the air, and possesses good hands for the interception.
Jams opponents at the line of scrimmage, mixes it up with receivers throughout the route, and works to get his head back around to locate the pass in the air. Plays to his 40 time and easily stays downfield with opponents. Shows a closing burst that allows him to recover. Fires up the field, gives effort defending the run, and wraps up tackling. Plays to his size.
Negatives: Must brush up his footwork pedaling in reverse. Inconsistent getting his head back around and does a bit of face guarding on occasion. Must improve his overall technique.
Analysis: Gardner significantly elevated his game last season and possesses the size as well as speed to start on Sundays. While there’s room for improvement, Gardner could quickly break into a starting lineup as a rookie.
Want more information on Gardner? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati CB | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Alec Pierce, WR
Positives: Large, athletic receiver with reliable hands. Displays tremendous focus as well as concentration, tracks the pass in the air, and makes a lot of acrobatic receptions with defenders draped on him. Possesses strong hands, snatches the ball out of the air, and shows outstanding eye/hand coordination.
Comes back to the ball, gets vertical, and makes the tough catch in a crowd. Works hard after the catch. Exposes himself to the big hit in order to make the reception and holds onto the ball. Gives effort blocking and gets results.
Negatives: Doesn’t show much quickness or burst in his game despite his 40 time. Stiff and must improve his route running.
Analysis: Pierce was a dominant pass catcher for Cincinnati and is a nice combination of size, athleticism, and dependability. He possesses an upside but must round out his game and consistently play to his measurables.
Want more information on Pierce? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Alec Pierce, Cincinnati WR | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Bryan Cook, S
Positives: Tough, instinctive safety with a well-rounded game. Quickly diagnoses plays, takes proper angles to the action, and immediately picks up assignments. Aggressive player who fires upfield to defend the run, wraps up tackling, and brings ball handlers down in space.
Smooth flipping his hips and easily stays with tight ends in coverage downfield. Gets his head back around to locate the pass in the air and effectively positions himself to break up throws. Displays a burst to the ball out of his plant and has solid range.
Negatives: Lacks deep speed. Coming off a shoulder injury that prevented him from participating in any pre-draft scouting events.
Analysis: Cook is a physical, instinctive safety with excellent size and wherewithal. Deep speed is a concern, but Cook can be used in a zone scheme or up near the box.
Want more information on Cook? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Bryan Cook, Cincinnati S | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Coby Bryant, CB
Positives: Talented cornerback who gets lost in the shuffle and was overshadowed by teammate Sauce Gardner. Keeps the action in front of him, stays on the receiver’s hip out of breaks, and has a nice move to the throw. Diagnoses plays, immediately locates the pass in the air, and displays a terrific burst to the ball out of his plant.
Aggressive, nicely times pass defenses, and dives around the field to break up throws. Mixes it up with receivers throughout the route and works to get his head back around to locate the pass.
Negatives: Ran well during his pro day workout but does not play to that speed on the field. Really doesn’t show a closing burst. Must improve his playing balance.
Analysis: Bryant was a solid cover corner the past several seasons at Cincinnati and has enough ability to line up in nickel or dime packages on Sundays.
Want more information on Bryant? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Coby Bryant, Cincinnati CB | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Curtis Brooks, DT
Positives: Explosive 3-technique tackle who constantly makes plays on the ball. Fires off the snap with a tremendous first step, plays with outstanding pad level, and uses his hands exceptionally well. Displays good movement skills and easily changes direction. Fluid when asked to twist or stunt. Penetrates the line of scrimmage and relentlessly goes after the action. Moves well laterally and quickly gets down the line of scrimmage and out to the flanks.
Negatives: Lacks bulk and strength and gets manhandled in the middle of the line. Must develop more moves to get off blocks.
Analysis: Brooks has flown under the radar in the scouting community the past two seasons, but he’s a terrific one-gap defensive tackle who could be an inexpensive rotational player on Sundays.
Darrian Beavers, LB
Positives: Nasty, explosive linebacker with a tremendous upside. Breaks down well, uses his hands to protect himself, and quickly locates the ball handler. Physical, works hard to get involved in the action, and plays to his 40 time.
Displays speed in backside pursuit, cuts off the corners from ball carriers, and stays downfield with running backs in coverage. Explosive at the point, forceful up the field on the blitz, and shoots gaps to defend the run. Forceful defender who displays a lot of suddenness in his game.
Negatives: Must improve his ability in coverage. Slow recognizing assignments when the ball is in the air. Shows some stiffness in his game. Must develop more moves to get off blocks.
Analysis: Beavers is a high-revving linebacker who forces the action and plays with a nasty attitude. After a terrific senior season, he turned in a tremendous pro day workout that elevated his draft stock.
Beavers is a nice fit on the inside of a 3-4 alignment and can also be used at 4-3 middle linebacker. While he must improve his play in coverage, Beavers looks like a dominant two-down defender for the next level.
Want more information on Beavers? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati LB | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Desmond Ridder, QB
Positives: Highly regarded quarterback with the physical skills and mental aptitude to develop into a starter on Sundays. Possesses outstanding pocket stature, remains patient, and effectively commands and controls the offense. Senses pressure, steps up to avoid defenders, and takes off upfield only when necessary.
Possesses a quick release and has a live arm that makes the ball explode out of his hand. Puts air under deep throws to allow receivers to run to the ball. Easily drives the ball downfield with speed. Sells ball fakes, puts touch on throws when necessary, and effectively sets up screen passes. Makes good decisions and does not force throws. Gives effort carrying the ball.
Negatives: Often releases the ball off his back foot, which results in wayward passes. Tends to stare down the primary target. Lacks top pass placement, consistently makes receivers adjust backward or leave their feet to grab the ball, and misses a lot of opportunities.
Analysis: Ridder was a productive, winning quarterback for Cincinnati and comes with the physical ability and mental intangibles to develop into an NFL starter. That being the case, he must significantly improve his pass placement and not leave receivers hung out to dry.
If Ridder’s properly coached and patiently developed beginning this summer, he could eventually develop into a No. 1 quarterback. Otherwise, he will break a lot of hearts.
Want more information on Ridder? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati QB | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Jerome Ford, RB
Positives: Well-rounded ball carrier with the size and speed to play on Sundays. Strong carrying the ball, breaks tackles, and carries defenders for extra yardage. Falls forward when tackled. Possesses terrific short-area quickness with the ability to set defenders up and make them miss. Patiently waits for blocks to develop, uses them all over the field, and possesses a burst of speed.
Plays much faster than his 40 time, beats defenders into the open field, and can run to daylight. Finds the running lanes, turns it upfield, and possesses the agility necessary to turn the corner. Quickly gets into pass routes, adjusts to errant throws, and consistently makes catches with his hands. Comes away with the difficult reception downfield at full speed.
Negatives: Turned in just a single productive season at Cincinnati after transferring from Alabama. Not a truly creative ball carrier and must improve his blocking.
Analysis: Ford is a physical specimen who produces as a ball carrier and pass catcher. He comes with tremendous upside and will be a late Day 2 selection but can be starting in the NFL a year or so down the road.
Want more information on Ford? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Jerome Ford, Cincinnati RB | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Joel Dublanko, LB
Positives: Instinctive, hard-charging linebacker who is best defending the run. Breaks down well, quickly diagnoses plays, and immediately sniffs out ball handlers. Flows well laterally to the action and wraps up tackling. Patient, stays with assignments, and works well with teammates.
Negatives: Lacks speed in pursuit. Stiff and ineffective making plays in reverse.
Analysis: Dublanko was a productive run defender for Cincinnati but comes with athletic and scheme limitations. He could back up at inside or middle linebacker but must make his mark on special teams.
Marcus Brown, DL
Positives: Hard-working interior lineman who gets off the snap with a terrific first step, plays with outstanding pad level, and consistently gets leverage on opponents. Keeps his feet moving and works his hands throughout plays.
Negatives: Consistently locked up at the point by a single opponent. Lacks great strength and isn’t very athletic. Used as a rotational lineman.
Analysis: Brown gets the most from his ability, but he lacks size as well as upside and does not have much scheme versatility.
Michael Young, WR
Positives: Slightly undersized receiver who is effective returning punts. Displays exceptional quickness in his game and fluidly releases off the line of scrimmage. Terrific route runner who fires into breaks and stays low on exit. Comes back to the ball and into the clearing to make himself an available target, extends his hands, and nicely makes the reception at full speed. Easily adjusts to errant throws and grabs the ball away from his frame.
Negatives: Not a sturdy pass catcher. Takes his eyes off the ball and loses concentration. Dropped a lot of catchable throws last year. Lacks true deep speed.
Analysis: Young was graded as a late-round prospect coming into the season by some in the scouting community, but he did not live up to expectations. He offers possibilities as a fifth receiver who can line up in the slot, but Young must stand out on special teams this summer.
Myjai Sanders, EDGE
Positives: Athletic defensive front-seven prospect who can be used out of a three-point stance and standing over tackle. Smooth and fluid, easily moves down the line of scrimmage in pursuit of the action, and has a closing burst. Breaks down well, uses his hands to protect himself, and gives effort defending the run.
Explodes off the snap out of a three-point stance and shows great speed up the field and off the edge. Agile, easily redirects, and bends off the corner. Quickly changes direction and immediately alters his angle of attack.
Negatives: Has a tall, thin build and gets taken from the action by tight ends. May struggle keeping weight on. Must learn to make plays moving in reverse.
Analysis: Sanders was a very productive defender for Cincinnati as a pass rusher and making plays in space. His frame and inability to keep weight on will be an issue. But at the very least, Sanders projects as a situational pass rusher.
Want more information on Sanders? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati DE | NFL Draft Scouting Report
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