Cincinnati wrapped up a thoroughly disappointing 7-6 (4-4 in the AAC) campaign in December, after most preseason projections had the Bearcats easily winning the American Athletic Conference. For a team that barely topped .500, Cincinnati really had a great deal of top-tier talent that hoodwinked so many, especially on their high-powered offense. Now, some of that talent gets a chance to make an impression for the NFL.
Offensive lineman Parker Ehinger and wide receivers Johnny Holton, Mekale McKay and Chris Moore have all been invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, which will take place from February 23 through February 29. Cincinnati's four players make up four of the AAC's 13 representatives. While the Bearcats participants don't project as early-round draft picks, they could play their way into the later rounds with a good showing at the Combine.
- Ehinger is coming off a second straight first-team All-American Athletic Conference and a season in which he helped the Cincinnati offense finish sixth in total offense. Ehinger's NFL.com Combine profile has the 6-foot-6, 308-pound listed with a grade of 4.9 out of 10. They cite his size, technique and instincts as positive traits, but question his athleticism and functional strength at the next level.
- Holton missed some time this past season, but still finished sixth on the team with 461 receiving yards on 17 receptions. He averaged a team-high 27.1 average yards per reception with a long of 78 yards. Holton also caught five touchdowns for the Bearcats this past fall. Holton is graded at 4.82, according to NFL.com.
- McKay was one of the more intriguing NFL prospects on the Cincinnati roster heading into this past season, but didn't have the season many expected. McKay did finish fourth on the team with 507 receiving yards on 27 receptions and secured three touchdowns. McKay grades out at 5.06 with his ability to win jump balls, due to his size and athleticism, as a strength in his game. Drops, among issues with route running and his drop in production this season are the concerns.
- Moore grades out as a 5.2 with his size and big-play ability cited as strengths and his limited role as purely a deep threat as a weakness. Moore is clearly being looked at as a developmental big-play prospect after he caught 40 passes this past season for 870 receiving yards and a team-high seven touchdowns.
While the NFL Scouting Combine may not be the most exciting viewing experience, it will be nice to look for four Bearcats out of more than 300 prospects participating in their biggest job interview. Here's to hoping they can all latch on somewhere.