NFL Draft 2012: Cincinnati Bengals Scout Shows Interest in RB Isaiah Pead

Matt GrayContributor IJanuary 23, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 03:  Isaiah Pead #23 of the Cincinnati Bearcats holds the Big East Championship Trophy as he celebrates with fans after the Bearcats defeated the Connecticut Huskies 35-27 to claim their share of the 2011 Big East Championship on December 3, 2011 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
Tyler Barrick/Getty Images

It has been reported that the Cincinnati Bengals scout spent a significant amount of time talking to Cincinnati Bearcats running back Isaiah Pead today following the Monday Senior Bowl practice.

Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer also noted that Pead had an impressive practice:

UC’s Isaiah Pead had a good practice, showing some nice runs and quickness to the outside as well as catching a couple dumpoff screens and fielding punts during the special teams segment.

The interest in Pead is not particularly surprising considering the number of positions the Bengals need to address in the draft. Pead is firmly within the top-10 prospects entering the draft in 2012, but is unlikely to crack the first two rounds. 

Given the Bengals faith in a second-round QB in 2011, it would not come as a shock to see them wait a few rounds to take an RB. Given the needs in the secondary and on the offensive line, the prospect of taking an RB early continues to seem somewhat unnecessary considering the unpredictability of the position.

Pead ran for 1259 yards in 2011, racking up 12 TDs and an average of 5.3 yards per carry. Not only that, but he mustered 319 receiving yards worth three TDs also. The latter is an intriguing stat, as a running back with the potential to catch balls is likely to be high on Jay Gruden's wish list heading into the offseason.

Pead hails from Columbus, Ohio, an asset that will give the Bengals plenty of opportunity to take a look at him. Standing at 5'11", and weighing 200 pounds, Pead is a little bit smaller than Cedric Benson, giving him an edge in the athleticism and speed departments.

He holds a personal best of 10.89 seconds in the 100m dash, and despite not having consistently top-level speed, he can turn it on when needed. He as a great bursts of speed and a knack for changing direction in the face of tackles.

He may not have the ability to pound it up the middle like Benson did (on his good days), but Pead has great vision and can take it to the edge, squeeze through tight gaps and make plays with his athleticism when called upon. His instincts are top-notch, and while he makes bad decisions on occasion, his upside outweighs his youthful mistakes.

But it is his ability to provide an extra threat in the passing game that could see him in stripes in 2012. He provides a great pair of hands out of the backfield, and it is clear that his utilisation in the Bearcats passing game has translated to him producing a more precise and aware running performance, too.

While the Bengals are most likely just doing their due diligence with Pead right now, an impressive Senior Bowl performance could see him make his way onto the Cincinnati draft board, especially with the Bengals' more pressing needs in the secondary and on the offensive line.