We can say these three things with confidence about the Bengals’ selection of Georgia TE Orson Charles in Round Four:
• Other draft prospects helped themselves more in the predraft process than Charles did. Charles had a March to forget. His pro day didn’t go especially well, and he was later charged with DUI.
• The Bengals love taking Georgia prospects. Charles is the seventh former Bulldog to be drafted by Cincinnati since Marvin Lewis became head coach in 2003. Three of those players — DT Geno Atkins, DE Robert Geathers and WR A.J. Green — are currently Cincinnati starters.
• The Bengals needed to bolster their TE depth behind Jermaine Gresham, and Charles was PFW’s No. 2-ranked player at the position.
Mix all of these factors together, and you have a logical fit between player and team. And it could be a wonderful fit, too, if Charles, who’s just 21 years old, continues to develop as a player.
There’s reason to believe he can. The 6-2 1/2, 251-pound Charles runs well, and he is strong, as evidenced by his 35 reps in the bench press at the NFL Scouting Combine. Although he's known primarily for his pass catching, he's a willing blocker.
"He gets after it," Georgia head coach Mark Richt told PFW in March about Charles' blocking. "He’s very strong and quick off the ball, which is very important, but once he gets contact, he can really accelerate his feet to where he can stick on a block."
I attended Georgia’s pro day in Athens, Ga., in early March. It was a very windy day, and Charles didn’t run as fast as he had hoped. He wasn’t impressive in some of the drills, either. But when he lined up and ran routes, he cut an impressive figure. He could be a nice seam-stretching threat for Cincinnati.
The Bengals, who have drafted well in recent years, got good value in Round Four with the selection of Charles.