CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 25: A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals keeps his balance to score a touchdown on a 40-yard reception during an NFL preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Lets face facts.
The Cincinnati Bengals have a core of extremely talented wide receivers, most notably A.J. Green, Jerome Simpson and Jordan Shipley. Yet according to Scouts, Inc. positional grades, Shipley ranks as the team's top wide receiver (In$ider) at 61st overall; Simpson is 62nd with Andre Caldwell (77th) rounding out the team's entries at receiver (note: rookies aren't included on these lists).
We have to admit that it's a fair assessment. Unpopular statement? Yea. Perhaps. I'm sure I'll be recognized by this point as a Bengals-hater with an evil laugh (think flashlight under my chin in a dark room) that indiscriminately fires his Destruction Gun Of Doom. The enthusiasm for Cincinnati's receiving roster is based primarily on potential through talent more than experience or historical proof of success. It's too hard to judge A.J. Green through three preseason games until you receive a small sample size early during the regular season. Jerome Simpson wasn't even worth the cleats on his feet until given a chance late last year when Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens went down with respective injuries. Shipley is entering only his second season (though his first was very good) while Andre Caldwell is the most experienced and accomplished of the bunch with 38 games played and 87 career receptions respectively.
That being said the explosiveness that Simpson showed in the final two games last year was so epic that God himself thought about drafting Simpson on his fantasy football team. Andre Caldwell's three-game consistency at the end of the season, averaging 90 yards receiving per game was impressive. Jordan Shipley, the perfectionist of the group, runs every route with fearlessness amongst guided missiles underneath. And then there's A.J. Green who could smoke every cornerback into dust (not that we're showing homerism in this fairly balanced point of view).