We begin our summer long breakdown of the top NFL prospects around the nation and start in the Big East with a program in transition. The departure of head coach Brian Kelly prior to the Bearcats first appearance in a BCS game leaves Cincinnati with big questions. UC had three players selected in April’s draft and could equal that number in 2011, if things fall into place.
On offense we rate receiver Armon Binns as the top prospect. A well sized possession wide out who does the little things well, Binns is reliably handed and consistently comes away with the reception. He plays with a good degree of awareness and effectively blocks downfield. Binns shows marginal speed and quickness in his game, which is a limiting factor, but we feel he has the skills to be a number three or four wide out at the next level.
Opinions are mixed on offensive guard Jason Kelce. Some have told us he ranks near the top of the guard class while others feel he’s a free agent prospect. We lean towards the latter in our ranking of Kelce. He’s a nice sized lineman who plays with quickness and strength but really struggles in motion, looks stiff in pads and is best in a small area.
Vidal Hazelton makes his return to the field after sitting out the ’09 campaign when he transferred from USC. With the Trojans, Hazelton displayed himself as a reliable receiver on a talent laden offense yet never stood out in any aspect of the game.
Tight end Ben Guidugli is a heads-up football player, adequate as both a pass catcher and blocker. He is also a marginal athlete with limited upside.
The pickings are slim on defense, though we do rate junior linebacker Walter Stewart as the team’s top NFL prospect. Stewart is a terrific athlete with outstanding movement skills. He’s effective in space and shows the ability to hold his ground against blocks. We really like Stewart’s play against the pass and feel he’s a solid future prospect on the weak side in a 4-3 alignment.
Cincinnati Bearcat Prospects