I've heard this comparison by several analysts in terms of talent and skill set, NOT CHARACTER. They are both physically gifted, they both have the ability to draw double teams which leaves no safety help over the top, and they both force defenses to game plan for them every game. If AJ Green equates to Brandon Marshal on the field in terms of being a #1 WR then there may be a potential #2WR available in FA (somewhat under the radar) who should probably be on the Bengal’s radar.
Eddie Royal. I know he's not a sexy choice or big name!! But let me explain, because he should come cheap and if you really think about it he has many of the qualities we are looking for in our #2 WR.
1. He's fast, a burner who has the ability to take the top off of a defense, although he generally works underneath and makes most of his big plays after the catch. He ran a 4.3 at the combine and has been clocked as fast as 4.2 in college. Right now, we are in the midst of the NFL combine and if he were coming out this year he would be ranked right up there with the top WR’s in this class (comparable to Kendall Wright). He was a 2nd round selection in 2008.
2. He can contribute right away and would be a definite upgrade over Brandon Tate on special teams in both return games (Kick and Punt).
3. He has proven he can actually be a productive #2 WR in the NFL when he has had a stud #1 WR on the other side (he's NOT shown he has the ability to be a #1 by himself).
4. He has good hands and rarely drops passes.
As I've already stated, even though he's not a sexy pick, when you go back and look at his overall career numbers, he may be a better fit than most people initially realize.
Because he has played for the Broncos he has to be graded differently. He’s obviously been in a very unique situation, especially in the last year and half with Tim Teebow at the helm. Remember, he’s had 3 different starting QB’s in his 4 year NFL career. However, if you go back and look what he did in his first few years when the Broncos had a traditional offense with both Jay Cutler at QB (a descent QB) and Brandon Marshal at WR (a stud #1 WR), his numbers as their #2 WR were off the charts. In fact they were so good he was fourth fastest WR in NFL HISTORY to reach 100 receptions. If you think about it, that’s pretty much the exact same role we would be asking him to play here in Cincinnati opposite of AJ Green.
I may be way off base with my assessment, but sometimes we have a tendency to look too much at what have you done for me lately and not at the overall picture. In his case, because of the QB situation (Teebow) in Denver I don’t know if that should apply. His career stats are almost identical to Stevie Johnson (same draft class) and he will be much cheaper. Because he still has the potential to be a #2 WR and has a huge upside, I think it would be worth it for the Bengals to make a run at him in FA. Best case scenario he lives up to his potential and becomes our #2 WR, worst case scenario he never gets back to his rookie form and pans out as our #2 but he still upgrades our return game.
People have been clamoring for both Mike Wallace and Kendall Wright lately. His physical abilities and stature our similar to both of these guys and he already has more of a track record in the NFL than Kendall Wright. His overall numbers are actually a lot closer to Mike Wallace then most people realize as well, so my question is should we take a flyer on Eddie Royal to see if he can be our #2 in 2013.