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If I was a rookie – Andrei Iosivas (Bengals) is a diamond in the rough

Welcome to the NFL young beginner! After being important players in their universities, rookies must once again earn their places in the pros. Who are they and what hopes do they raise? Come and discover these new gems. Today, we focus on Cincinnati receiver Andrei Iosivas.

Andrei Iosivas

Born October 15, 1999 in Japan
1m91 for 96 kilos
Receiver, Cincinnati Bengals

In the 2023 draft, the Bengals selected two receivers. The first in the 4th round with Charlie Jones: a real technician in the position but lacking in size. In the 6th round, they focused on the athletic qualities of Andrei Iosivas, hoping to improve his playing intelligence.

Intelligence is not what this student from Princeton lacks!

If I were a course: studious

With a father putting pressure on him academically, Andrei Iosivas always got good grades in class. Stanford University and its academic prestige was Mihai Iosivas’ goal for his son. The only possible alternative for young Andrei was to join a university in the Ivy League : Princeton, Harvard or Yale.

Such was the desire for integration of parents who were new arrivals on American territory. Mihai is Romanian while Ms. Iosivas comes from the Philippines. The two met in Japan and that’s where Andrei was born. Four years later, the family moved to Hawaii.

Good in class, Andrei Iosivas was also good on the football field, but not to the point of being noticed by university recruiters:

“I always got good grades: no choice with my father! I was good at football but my high school team attacked on the ground the majority of the time. The ball was thrown at me sometimes, but not often! », he confides to Bleacher Report.

Totally ignored by the best universities in terms of football, Andrei Iosivas joined Princeton, meeting his parents’ expectations. A university much more renowned academically than in sport.

The adaptation was not easy 8000 kilometers from the island of Hawaii. The absence of his family, the difference in climate and the fact of no longer being the best student in the class forced him to surpass himself. Fortunately for his morale, he was able to record success in athletics competitions.

If Andrei Iosivas was a quality: athletic

Star of the Princeton indoor heptathlon team, he shows his performances in running (60 meters, 60m hurdles, 1000m), jumps (high, length and pole vault) and shot put. In 2022, he is named to the country’s standard team!

Andrei Iosivas also puts his athletic qualities at the service of football. After a 2022 season with 943 yards and 7 touchdowns, he was invited to play in the two All Star games in the NCAA: East West Shrine Bowl and the Senior Bowl. Interviewed by NFL Network, he said:

“As you see I’m here (Senior Bowl). I am not preparing for the Olympic Games but to play football. I have always been good at athletics but my choice is to play football. »

You might as well take advantage of your physical qualities in a sport where being fast and agile is important. Unsurprisingly, Andrei Iosivas shone during the 2023 NFL Combine with cumulative results giving him a score of 9.96 out of 10!

If Andrei Iosivas was a fault: lack of technicality

Coming from a minor conference in terms of football, he was not able to face very good opponents. The transition to the NFL therefore remains complicated.

His quarterbacks at Princeton weren’t able to make every throw or have multiple reads, Andrei Iosivas mostly ran the same route. In the NFL, a receiver must be able to attack different areas of the field. Due to lack of time due to pressure, the quarterback throws with anticipation: the receiver must therefore be in the exact place at the expected time.

If the neophyte only notices the physical dimension of this sport, each position requires a lot of technique. Andrei Iosivas must perfect his technique to become a player who counts.

If I were an NFL player: Christian Watson (Packers)

Doubts regarding the Packers’ player evaluation were the same in 2022: weak opposition and limited “plot tree.” For the moment, health concerns have only allowed Christian Watson to show his talent in sequences.

Both players have the same size, come from a lower university level and share similar athletic qualities. But both came to the NFL with a need to perfect their fundamentals.

Because the disciplines in athletics require it, Andrei Iosivas already knows the importance of work to progress. So “the sky is the limit”.

If I was a starter in the NFL: slow but sure progress

Its use was progressive in the Bengals offense: 1st game (2% of offensive plays), 2nd game (3%), 3rd game (10%) and 4th game (19%). Never targeted by his quarterback, Andrei Iosivas is used to give defenders a false lead or to block.

After 8 games played, he only has 4 receptions, including 2 giving a touchdown!

Andrei Iosivas is currently only the 5th receiver in the Bengals hierarchy after Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Trenton Irwin. A strategy to help him progress without too much pressure. But this could change in the future.

If I were a project: extending the adventure in Cincinnati

Since successful player transitions are random between the NCAA and the NFL, franchises take whatever information they can.

Having worked with the Bengals as an assistant coach (2002-2009), Bob Surace has been Princeton’s coach since 2010. His connection with the leaders of Cincinnati favored the selection of Andrei Iosivas, whom he had under his command for four years.

By using a 6th round pick in the draft, the Bengals didn’t risk much by selecting him. His 4-year, $4 million contract doesn’t weigh much on an NFL payroll. If the player fails, parting with him will cost next to nothing.

If, on the other hand, the player shows promise in 2023, he could become an interesting option for the Cincinnati manager. Offensive star Ja’Marr Chase will undoubtedly receive an imposing contract extension in 2024. Not sure then that the Bengals can also keep the number 2 and 3 receivers.

At the end of the current season, receivers Tyler Boyd and especially Tee Higgins will be free from any contract. The latter, performing as a number 1 receiver, will undoubtedly look for a franchise that can give him this status on the field, as well as the contract that goes with it! If Andrei Iosivas develops well, then this puzzle of managing the salary cap will be less difficult for Cincinnati to resolve.

SEE ALSO:  [Si j’étais un espoir] Felix Anudike (DE): The Manhattan Flayer
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