During the 2016 season, Tennessee WR Josh Malone was a touchdown machine, scoring 11 times while catching 50 passes for 972 yards — an incredible 19.4 yards per catch average.
Despite all those impressive numbers, Malone wasn’t drafted until the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, when the Cincinnati Bengals called his name.
Now, the Bengals are hoping they got a steal, as Bengals.com reports that head coach Marvin Lewis expects big things from Malone this fall:
“We went into the draft and felt like this was a guy that maybe was somewhat overlooked but had physical tools to play at a higher level,” said Lewis. “We’ve had good luck with a lot of guys like that who have similar body types and come in here as young players. They’ve continued to carve out opportunity and gain more reps and take advantage of it.”
The Bengals already have a superstar receiver in A.J. Green and used their first-round selection on Washington WR John Ross, so Malone won’t have too much pressure on him heading into his rookie season.
However, that doesn’t mean he won’t be expected to compete for playing time. If he can produce big numbers with only a handful of receptions this fall, though, he could be a great asset for a Cincinnati team with playoff aspirations.