Draft weekend was quite a roller coaster for former Rutgers WR Mohamed Sanu. First, he got a prank call that he was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round. Then, he actually got drafted by the Bengals in the third round the next day. Finally, he saw his road to starting as the team's No. 2 wide receiver immediately blocked on the following day when the Bengals used a fifth-round pick on former California WR Marvin Jones.
Today during the Bengals first rookie mini camp practice, Sanu took a backseat to Jones in what should be one of the most interesting rookie position battles all summer. Cincinnati Enquirer beat writer Joe Reedy called Jones "the early standout" on offense. According to Reedy, Jones had "a couple nice catches including one over cornerback Taiedo Smith."
This comes as little surprise to the draftnik community (including myself) who had Jones rated very highly. The slide to the fifth-round was unexpected, and an examination of the film of the two wideouts reveals that Jones is the more pro-ready receiver.
In this contest vs. Uconn, Sanu's production comes from a lot of short throws and his strength after the catch. He rounds his routes and his inability to sell the route almost causes an interception. Sanu doesn't create great separation on downfield routes. His size, strength, hands and toughness are assets, but he lacks polish.
In this contest vs. Stanford, Jones displays better acceleration to eat up the cornerback's cushion and sharp breaks in his routes to create separation. His ball skills, game in the air and sideline awareness are all top notch, and in general his game looks more like an NFL receiver than Sanu's.
One day of practice in shorts really means nothing, but I expect today's outcome of Marvin Jones getting more praise than Mohamed Sanu to continue throughout the summer, culminating in the second wide receiver the Bengals drafted this year becoming their second starting wideout in week 1.