We wrote recently that Sports Illustrated writer Peter King believes that the Bengals are one of the teams that have Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones ranked higher on their draft board than Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green is.
While it's uncertain as to whether or not the Bengals would even consider drafting a receiver with the No. 4 overall pick, even if both Jones and Green are available, ESPN's Todd McShay believes it should be Georgia's Green that goes to the first team that takes a receiver.
"I don’t think Jones has closed the gap (on Green)," McShay said in a Wednesday morning conference call. "Green provides more explosiveness and big-play ability. … He’s just a better overall athlete."
During that conference call, McShay discussed the theory that Jones could be the better pick for a West Coast Offense, like what Bengals new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is implementing in Cincinnati, because he's better at blocking downfield. To this, McShay replied by saying, "If you draft a wide receiver because he’s a better blocker, I think you’re missing the point."
The Bengals' interest in a wide receiver in the first round may exist for a few reasons. One, it's fairly certain that neither Terrell Owens nor Chad Ochocinco will be back in Cincinnati playing football in Bengals uniforms in 2011, leaving Andre Caldwell as the most experienced wide receiver on the roster. Two, the only wide receivers on the Bengals roster that are under contract beyond the 2011 season are Jordan Shipley and Shay Hodge. Both Caldwell and Jerome Simpson are free agents in 2012. Three, since the Bengals will likely have a rookie quarterback starting in 2011, that rookie could use a No. 1 receiving talent like Green or Jones to help make the adjustment to the pro game. And four, the defense, which finished the 2010 season with a No. 15 ranking, is much more likely to rebound without a high first-round draft choice than an anemic offense is.
So, if the Bengals do decide to draft one of these elite wide receivers in the first round, and after hearing King's arguments and then McShay's, who do you think it should be: A.J. Green or Julio Jones?