Somebody got a cheap and cruel laugh at Cincinnati Bengals third-round wide receiver Mohamed Sanu when they prank-called him, posing as a member of the Bengals organization phoning to inform him that they had selected him in the first round.
Sanu ended up a member of the team a day later, joining a free-for-all competition for the team's No. 2 wide receiver position. If he keeps winning over observers and members of the organization at the rate he did in his first month with the Bengals, he'll have the last laugh.
Dan Hoard of Bengals.com writes that he was impressed with Sanu during the one practice open to the media, but he had to seek out "an expert opinion." The expert? Cincinnati's No. 1 wide receiver and 2011 rookie sensation AJ Green. Green couldn't have been more glowing in his remarks:
Man, that guy is smooth. He works the middle really well. A lot of people have questioned his speed, but the guy has ‘football speed.’ It’s just like myself. A lot of people say that he didn’t run the fastest, but you see him on the field and he’s fluid in-and-out of his breaks, he catches everything with his hands, and he attacks the ball. He’s going to be a special one.
Quarterback Andy Dalton also praised Sanu, according to Hoard. Dalton liked Sanu's big body, shiftiness, and the way he comes back to the ball, predicting that he is "going to be a good player for us."
Teammates' opinions are important, but they don't set the depth chart. That's head coach Marvin Lewis' job, and he was already warming to Sanu before last week's OTAs.
Cincinnati Enquirer beat writer Joe Reedy reported that Lewis said Sanu was "everything we expected him to be" in rookie mini camp earlier this month. Lewis said Sanu would play this year and that he expected him to push for playing time and a starting spot. Carlos Holmes of the Dayton Daily News writes that Sanu appears to be a fan favorite, too.
Are expectations getting a little ahead of reality? AJ Green seemed to know that this statement would be met with incredulity: "I’m telling you—a lot of the older guys here compare him to T.J. Houshmandzadeh."
Too lofty? Decide for yourself: