Cincinnati Bengals Draft Watch: Nick O’Leary
As this season continues, it is becoming more apparent that Hue Jackson wants to use everyone in his scheme. Offensively, Jackson has turned to second year running back Giovani Bernard who is having quite the start to the season with 562 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns. One area that has been a disappointment to this point in the season is the tight end play. With Tyler Eifert going down in Week One against Baltimore, it was time for 2010 first round pick Jermaine Gresham to show why he is ready for a contract extension.
Including a 68-yard performance last week against Carolina, Gresham has a total of 14 catches for 129 yards and zero touchdowns. Not exactly the performance anyone is looking for this season. With Gresham not stepping up and showing unreliability, the Bengals may need to move on from the 21st overall pick in 2010. Hue Jackson has made it clear that he is going to run a multi-dimensional offense that includes heavy tight end use. Does Jermaine Gresham fit into this, or is it time to look to the draft?
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If the Bengals ultimately decide to move on from Gresham, one player to watch is Florida State senior tight end Nick O’Leary. O’Leary is listed as 6’3”, 247 pounds and has a reputation for catching everything thrown his way. He’s also a student of the game who takes pride in being in the right position and perfecting every assignment. Nick O’Leary has been described as an “old school” tight end who doesn’t wear gloves and isn’t afraid of contact. I know, this sounds more and more like a Hue Jackson type of player.
O’Leary considered entering the 2014 draft after amassing 557 yards and seven touchdowns for the Seminoles last season. O’Leary’s grit, determination, and overall skill-set helped him become a John Mackey Award finalist, given to the nation’s top tight end. Bengals’ fans might remember Tyler Eifert won the award in 2012 with the Fighting Irish. Having two Mackey finalists/award winners on the offense might just be what the Bengals need to help propel the Hue Jackson offensive machine.
Nick O’Leary, and the rest of the Seminoles (2) will be on display tonight as they host the also undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5) in what might be the biggest game of the season. Keep an eye on O’Leary. It will be interesting to see how he responds in a huge game. This game can be seen on ABC tonight at 8pm.