WIDE RECEIVERS COACH JAMES URBANInitial comments:JU: "I'm very excited announce our pick of Ryan Whalen. He's a tough, physical player with good size. He runs good routes and blocks well. He plays the game the way you want it played. This kid is a winner. He's the kind of kid you can build a winning organization around. He's the kind of guy you want in your meeting room and on your team."
How much did you look at last year's tape because of injuries this year?JU: "We looked at all of it. He had an elbow injury. He's been their go-to guy the last two years and has been productive. They spread the ball around pretty good and that quarterback is a heck of a player. They do a great job with that offense. On third and six, they were looking at him. It sure seemed like when they needed a big completion, he would show up. He started showing up more and more that way."
Is he more of a slot receiver?JU: "I think he can play both. They moved him around and we'll certainly look at him for both positions. I think he has the ability to do both. He's six foot one and 205 pounds. I think he has a chance to do both. Given his makeup and the way he plays the game, we'll see if he can play on special teams for Coach Darrin Simmons."
Does he compare to a Jordan Shipley-type receiver?JU: "He's bigger. Jordan is quick in and out of breaks. He's not nearly the quick twitch guy that Jordan is. He's one of those guys that does it the way you want it done. When you watch enough film, you see he's very consistent. He's very coachable and does it the right way. He's an academic all-American. I believe he was a walk-on and earned a scholarship. He's one of those guys with so many superlatives on his resume that it kind of hurts your head."
Is his elbow OK now?JU: "Yes. Everything is good to go and he's excited to be a Bengal."
You have some pretty good wide receivers now with A.J. (Green) and Ryan (Whalen):JU: "Real good additions. We're very excited. Obviously you guys met Andy (Dalton) earlier, so we're excited about that."
Are you surprised at all that you get another receiver?JU:"There were all kinds of models we talked about. I'm not surprised, but I was hoping that we'd be able to get another. He was one of the guys that we had in mind and we were hoping to get him in this area of the draft. We're excited to have him and for him to become a Cincinnati Bengal."
You were in Ft. Worth for Andy Dalton's workout last week. What was it like going through everything with him?JU: "Actually, quite a few of his teammates showed up to work out with him, including four wide receivers, a tight end and a center. I was primarily with the wide receivers and conveying what kind of routes we wanted them to run and those kinds of things. So, it was great working with him from my end. They were running our routes, things we wanted to see them run — not things that they've run. We'd say, 'This is going to be a 12-yard in-route with five-hitch timing.' And then Andy would throw it in five-hitch timing — it was great that way."
His anticipation and delivery were all there?JU: "Absolutely. Those are great strengths of his."
Does he remind you of (Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback) Kevin Kolb in any way?JU: "There are some similarities there. Both are great leaders. There are definitely some comparisons there."
RYAN WHALENYou had some ups and downs during your senior year with both injuries and success …RW: "I got injured the third game of the season, so I missed that game and the next two games. But I was able to come back and finish the season strong and have a great run at the Orange Bowl. And right now I couldn't be feeling better. So to have this chance, a childhood dream come true, to get drafted into the NFL to play for the Bengals, I'm just sky-high right now. Looking back, it's been a wonderful journey."
You were a walk-on, correct?RW: "Yes."
What were your expectations going to Stanford as a walk-on? You couldn't have expected just a few years ago to be in your current position, right?RW: "I expected to play and be a starter. Those were my goals. I wanted to compete. I just worked hard — as hard as I can — and was given the opportunity. That's what I'm excited to do — to have a chance to compete and have a chance to play. I'll do everything I can to try and get there."
How much do you think playing for your college coach, Jim Harbaugh, prepared you for what you will encounter in the NFL?RW: "I think it definitely prepared me in terms of what we did offensively. We had a pretty complex offensive scheme. We did a lot of things, in terms of experience with an extensive playbook, and in terms of just multiple things on offense. And he brought the mindset that he brought, and how it was from someone who had played in the NFL. Hopefully all of those things will prepare me, but I know I have a lot to learn."
Wide receivers coach James Urban mentioned how you are very consistent and pay great attention to detail. How important are those things to you?RW: "Yeah, I think it's very important. I think that's what separates guys. A lot of guys have talent at this level, everyone's good. I've been paying attention to the details and little things and being consistent, making catches and getting open. When your team is counting on you, it's important."
Have you seen much of Andy Dalton?RW: "No, just on TV. But I've heard nothing but good things, and I'm excited to have the chance to get to play with him."