04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Bengals picks: Round 3/83 - Mohamed Sanu, WR, 6-1, 211, Rutgers...A big need during the offseason has been to find a wide receiver to line up opposite A.J. Green. Sanu is a physical receiver who had 115 receptions last season, which was a Big East single-season record. - The Sports Xchange
With his decision to leave Rutgers after his junior season, Mohamed Sanu joined only Ray Rice and two first round picks -- receiver Kenny Britt and offensive tackle Anthony Davis -- as the four players of the Greg Schiano era to take their game early to the NFL.
Like Schiano's past star pupils, it would be difficult to argue that Sanu should have returned for his senior campaign. Having started 37 of a possible 38 games over his career with the Scarlet Knights, Sanu leaves as the school and Big East record holder with 210 career receptions, as well as the single season champ with 115 grabs this year alone. Sanu averaged 10.8 yards per reception over his career, obliterating the misconception that he wasn't a big play threat by more than doubling his touchdown output in 2011 (seven) of his previous totals (five).
He verified his lack of elite speed at the Scouting Combine when his best 40-yard dash was 4.62. His 19 reps with 225 pounds in the bench press is probably more of an indicator of how he plays the game.
While Sanu lacks the elite timed speed to leaves scouts gasping he does possess an exciting blend of size, strength and natural open field running skills. Possessing the size to contribute at split end as well as the savvy route-running and courage to attack defenses from the slot, Sanu is better prepared than most collegiate receivers to make the NFL jump.
Sanu spent his youth shuttling between his parents' native Sierra Leone and New Jersey, where he finally settled in to become high school start at South Brunswick High in Monmouth Junction, N.J.
Release: Too big and strong for most defenders at this level to test him in press coverage. Good hand placement and upper body strength to fight off the jam when he gets it and is a threat to beat the defender over the top due to good acceleration and better straight-line speed than he's often credited with possessing. Eats up the cushion, showing better agility and precision as a route-runner than most receivers with his bulk.
Hands: Sanu has several outstanding qualities but none more impressive than his natural receiving skills. Possesses very reliable hands and a wide catch radius due to his long arms, impressive flexibility, and hand-eye coordination. Extends and plucks the ball away from his frame when he senses the defender near. Quickly secures the ball and carries it tight to his frame. Very good jump-ball candidate due to strong leaping skills, long arms and timing.
Route running: Quick burst off the line of scrimmage perhaps masking a lack of elite straight-line speed. Has enough speed to challenge vertically. Throttles down quickly, sinks his hips and has good burst left and right to generate separation on underneath routes. Used from a variety of positions, lining up inside in the slot, outside and put in motion. Courageous over the middle, often pulling away on drag routes and quick posts.
After the catch: Exciting blend of size, strength and speed once the ball is in his hands. Strong receiver capable of ripping free of arm tackles and shucking off defenders with a stiff-arm. Lacks elite lateral agility to make defenders miss in tight quarters, but has good flexibility, balance and vision to weave through the defense. Rushed for 653 yards and nine touchdowns over his career and isn't opposed to cutting back inside amidst the big bodies if he sees a lane. Some question about his true timed speed but has an explosive burst to accelerate through gaps and separate.
Blocking: Takes his role as a blocker seriously. Shows good strength and very good effort blocking downfield, locking up the corner and working to seal his opponent from the action. Often sent in motion so he can provide a crack back block on an unsuspecting defensive end and looks to peel back and knock out the trailing defender when a teammate has a chance for a big play.
Intangibles: A selfless player who head coach Greg Schiano raved about when Sanu announced that he was leaving early. ?He?s meant a ton to this program,? Schiano said. ?He?s the guy who does everything. He?ll be very hard to replace. I don?t know if you ever replace him. You?ll just have to have a few guys do his thing.? Played all three years he was at Rutgers but will turn 23 early in his rookie season due to the fact that he turned 19 a week before his senior season of high school football began and he was ruled ineligible...