Regardless of your thoughts on selecting a receiver as high as No. 4 in the draft, we can all agree that the wide receiver position is one of need. Only Jordan Shipley and Shay Hodge are under contract after the 2011 season and it's possible that the Bengals may decide to attempt to trade Ochocinco before the upcoming season. That would leave the team with just Jerome Simpson, Andre Caldwell (both are entering contract years), Jordan Shipley, Hodge and Quan Cosby in 2011.
While Simpson may have looked like a No. 1 receiver in the last three games of the 2010 season, he's no where near reliable enough, at least not right now, to go into a season as the main receiver with a new offensive coordinator and playbook. These reasons, and a few more are why the Bengals will take a serious look at Georgia's A.J. Green and Alabama's Julio Jones in the first round of the 2011 draft.
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy, another reason is because of Bengals owner Mike Brown's love of offense.
"My boss loves offense. You want to make sure whatever player we pick there is value with him," Lewis said. "What happens in the draft is you get locked in on a position and maybe you overvalue the position and you don't take the best player, and you're somewhat disappointed in what occurs."
Because Brown loves offense so much, he may decide to take a receiver with the No. 4 overall pick. If that happens, it will be between Green and Jones. When it comes to which one they'll take, Lewis says it will depend on which receiver can be more physical.
"I think it's important for us to have a guy that is physically aggressive, who obviously has speed, and he has to have ability to catch," Lewis said. "The physicalness to play the position or the speed part I don't think you can improve. I think guys can get better at catching the football and concentration."
Green may be the better receiver but Jones' blocking ability has drawn a lot of attention. With Gruden's west coast offense, the ability of a receiver to block may be the boost needed to be taken at No. 4.
"When the kids (Caldwell and Simpson) were playing at receiver, they showed effort blocking in the running game," Lewis said. "They showed good effort. That's what blocking out there on the perimeter is. You're not asking them to take the guy's head off all the time. Julio will."
Lewis, however, knows that both receivers are very talented and both have skill sets they could bring to a team in the first round.
"I think A.J. has really demonstrated the ability to make acrobatic catches," Lewis said. "They both have a big catching radius because they're big, long guys. For A.J.'s catching acrobatics, Julio's ability to run with the ball once he has it, what do you value most? There's positives to both."