Editor's note: There are a lot more players than five that have something to prove in 2011. In fact, the entire team has something to prove. However, I narrowed down five players that have the most to prove this season and ranked them in order. Here is No. 5.....
Wide Receiver Jerome Simpson
Even though Simpson exploded at the end of the 2010 season, catching 20 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns, he's only had two really good games in his entire career. Before the final two games of the 2011 season, the best game in Simpson's career was the week before, in which he caught two passes for 30 yards. Before that game, Simpson basically did absolutely nothing. He only had one catch for two yards until the last three games of his third year in the NFL.
Now Simpson is entering into the final year of his contract, and while he has the potential to be a great wide receiver in the NFL, he has a lot to prove to earn himself another contract with the Bengals.
While nothing is necessarily written in stone, most believe that Chad Ochocinco has played his last game as a Bengal. If that's the case, then a roster spot has been opened for Simpson, which may solve any problems he's had over the past three years.
Many believe that Simpson's inability to learn the playbook and adjust to the NFL from small Coastal Carolina University kept him off the field, but others believe that Simpson's main problem stemmed from being stuck behind Chad Ochocinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Laveranues Coles and Terrell Owens. If that's the case, how could we have expected Simpson to do anything other than nothing.
But this year could be different for Simpson, who was selected in the second round before DeSean Jackson. If he's thrust into the starting lineup and put in a sink or swim situation, I think he'll swim. If he doesn't, though, his career as a Bengal is over and he'll officially be labeled a bust.
That's why Jerome Simpson is the No. 5 player with the most to lose on the Bengals 2011 roster.