INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Wide receiver A.J. Green of Georgia runs through a drill during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
In 2010 Cold Hard Football Facts likened flashy wide receivers as nothing more than a shiny hood ornament, writing "wide receivers, even the all-time great wide receivers, are little more than shiny hood ornaments on NFL offenses."
San Francisco Hall of Famer Jerry Rice was a classic example hood ornament receiver. Best wideout in modern history? Sure. Won three Super Bowls. Played huge in big games. Owns every receiving record in the books. But he didn't make the 49ers great. He joined a dynasty in progress: he was drafted by the defending Super Bowl champs, a team that dominated the NFL with a 15-1 record in 1984. San Francisco's top wideout in that nearly perfect 1984 season? Dwight Clark, with 52 catches for 880 yards.
Why is this relevant? Aside from Carson Palmer thriving without "flashy" wide receivers towards the end of the year in 2010, the team is often projected, or dare I say mocked, for drafting A.J. Green with the fourth overall draft pick.
Cold Hard Football Facts writes, in an updated piece about shiny hood ornaments:
And one game this year perfectly summed up the Shiny Hood Ornament Man Law more than any words could do. Cincy played one game this year without either Owens or Ochocinco in the lineup: the 3-11 Bengals lit up the 8-6 Chargers and quarterback Carson Palmer produced what might have been the greatest statistical game of his career.
The quarterback completed 16 of 21 passes for 269 yards, 12.8 YPA, 4 TD, 0 INT and a 157.2 rating. It was the most highly rated game of Palmer's career and the highest average per attempt of his career.
The cast of receivers he threw to included Andre Caldwell, Jerome Simpson, Jordan Shipley, Quan Cosby and Jermaine Gresham.
He spread the ball around well: three players caught four or more passes for 50 or more yards, three different receivers caught touchdowns and one receiver, Jerome Simpson, had a career day when given the opportunity (6 catches, 124 yards, 2 TD).
The Bengals have the fourth overall draft pick in 2011 with so many needs that the Bengals will need free agency just to fill in gaps on the roster, maybe even searching for starters. As of this posting, they have no need to draft a wide receiver so high in the draft, even for a guy that could affect the game with a big catch. Then again, even if the Bengals drafted A.J. Green, who the hell is going to be the quarterback to get him the football?