Malcolm Kelly could get some love from the Bengals

WR Kelly a top target

Malcolm Kelly has a difference of opinion with some NFL scouts who say he lacks deep speed.

“My greatest strength is probably just being a deep threat, a down-the-field threat,” the Oklahoma wide receiver said at the NFL scouting combine. “That’s the part of the offense I played at Oklahoma, just going down the field and making plays.

“Just good hand-eye coordination no matter where the ball is, being strong and going up and getting the ball out of the air and not waiting for the ball to come down and get you.”

The last part of Kelly’s self-scouting report is in line with what the NFL experts say about him: He is strong and will fight for the ball in the air.

Kelly, who had nine touchdowns among his 49 receptions last season, also can catch poorly thrown balls behind him or low to the ground. At almost 6 feet 4 and 224 pounds, he is tough to tackle and is a willing and able blocker in run support.

The Bengals are unlikely, despite the need, to draft a wide receiver at No. 9 in the first round. But in the second and third rounds – with the Nos. 46, 77 and 97 picks – there’s a chance.

Kelly, who is considered a high-reward, high-risk prospect, might be around in the second round.

Though he is physical, he doesn’t always get separation from defensive backs.

“I didn’t have problems getting open in college, but the NFL (defensive backs) are going to be a lot more swift and a lot more on point to breaking on your route,” Kelly said. “So that’ll probably be the one area of my game I really need to improve.”

Former Oklahoma receiver Mark Clayton, now with the Baltimore Ravens, has mentored Kelly and talks with him weekly.

“He just told me it’s going to be a lot more technique,” Kelly said. “He told me it’s more like a chess game, just small stuff about your technique that you’re going to have to work on every day that you normally wouldn’t do in college but you have to make sure you really stay on top of it in the NFL.”

Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski attended a two-man workout at the University of Oklahoma on April 9 to watch and then talk with Kelly, The Oklahoman newspaper reported.

Kelly did not participate in the regular Oklahoma pro day workout March 12 because of a strained thigh sustained at the end of the season.