Commentary: Even Though The Bengals Shouldn't Draft A Receiver In The First Round, It's Still A Need

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 21: Jordan Shipley #11 of the Cincinnati Bengals is tackled by Drayton Florence #29 of the Buffalo Bills during the NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium on November 21 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. The Bills won 49-31.(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

While I'm a stanch opponent of using a fourth overall draft pick on a wide receiver, there is a need to work on the position. If Chad Ochocinco leaves -- and we suspect he's as good as gone -- then the team will be left with Jerome Simpson, Andre Caldwell and Jordan Shipley. And to be honest, we're alright with that. We can live with it. But what happens when there's an injury to one of those three? Quan Cosby, an exclusive-rights free agent, has six career receptions. Shay Hodge has one career NFL game under his belt.

That makes up your wide receiver roster signed for the 2011 season.

The Bengals don't need a beastly receiver that could walk into Libya, stop the "kinetic military action," implement democracy and write an email to his girlfriend all within the first hour of his arrival. But they do need to draft a receiver.

And it's not like we normally have a problem with drafting a wide receiver high in the draft. However, we have no reason to believe that the team's starting quarterback is even on this roster yet and the Bengals have been promoting a power rushing philosophy for the upcoming 2011 season -- as if it totally dawned on them that a power rushing offense was sort of a reason they won ten games during their 2010 AFC North championship. Wouldn't that make it seem like a wasted pick, when they could just as easily select a receiver later in the draft that could fulfill the team's needs at the position?

Even if the Bengals elect to use their fourth overall draft pick on a position with more urgency, such as a defensive back, quarterback or a defensive end, that doesn't mean the team won't have the opportunity to rebuild the wide receiver position. We have to say that, because for some reason when I say the team shouldn't draft a wide receiver in the first round, I'm somehow translated as saying, "I kick puppies and knock out the walker from little old ladies."

Marvin Lewis has shredded his relationship with Chad Ochocinco this offseason. Sure, it could be fun bantering from Lewis and Chad might be getting a good laugh out of that. But that's not the impression we've had. And there's really six million other reasons that Chad is likely gone. That's the cost to keep a 33-year old wide receiver who only scored four touchdowns in 2010. Is he worth the investment? Not in our eyes. But who knows if Bengals president Mike Brown sees more than the bouncing red rubber ball crossing the busy street.

After Chad Ochocinco, you have the three we mentioned earlier. But for how long? Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell are entering contract seasons. Do I think they'll be impossible to sign? No. Do I think that they should be signed to extensions? Honestly, I would hope that the team would see what they do for a full season before making that commitment. Two games is hardly a large enough sample to say Simpson broke out. And we've seen Andre Caldwell perform well in 2009, then suddenly disappear for more than half a season. I'm interested to see what they can do, but not to the point that they should commit to them just yet.

It's not like we'd cry ourselves to sleep if the Bengals drafted Green or even Julio Jones. It is a need and if those safe defensive prospects the team targeted in the first round are gone, then why not. But as we've said countless times, the team will have plenty of opportunities to draft a wide receiver if they decide to address another position in the first round.

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