Few teams have invested as much in their wide receiver room over recent years than have the Cincinnati Bengals, though one could argue that the Pittsburgh Steelers are among them, with four second or high third-round picks at the position in the past four years, including 49th-overall Chase Claypool in April.
But the Bengals also used a second-round pick, 33rd overall, to add to their wide receiver depth chart as well, in the form of Tee Higgins, a player many thought would go in the first round. And he will be paired with their first-overall pick, their new franchise quarterback, Joe Burrow.
Burrow is coming off one of the great college football seasons in NCAA history with LSU. In 2019, he completed 402 of 527 passes (76.3 percent) for 5671 yards and 60 touchdowns, versus only six interceptions, with a 202.0 quarterback rating. The Fighting Tigers went undefeated through the national championship.
That performance allowed Cincinnati to feel comfortable going all-in on Burrow, using the top pick on him and releasing Andy Dalton, who had been their starter since he was drafted in the second round in 2011. That year, their first-round pick, fourth overall, was A.J. Green, the big wide receiver who will now be Burrow’s top target.
Despite having many injury setbacks over the course of the past two seasons, in fact missing all of 2019, he is still one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL, and among the most productive when he is on the field.
But he’s not alone. Between Green and Higgins, the Bengals also invested a second-round pick on Tyler Boyd, whom they gave a sizable contract extension last year. They also used a top-10 pick on John Ross in 2018, and though he has dealt with injuries and has been slow to develop, has enormous potential as well.
“We have a lot of big, strong physical guys that are going to make plays for me as long as I put the ball where it needs to be”. Burrow recently told the local media about the group of targets that he is preparing to throw to. “I think we’re going to have one of the best receiving corps in the league”.
In addition to these four players, the Bengals also retain other contributors like Auden Tate and Alex Erickson, the latter their return man. He caught 43 passes for 529 yards last season, while Tate contributed 40 receptions for 575 yards and a touchdown. They were second and third in receiving yards for the team last season, with Ross limited to eight games.