According to CBS Sports' Paul Dehner, the Bengals are considering using one of their two first-round picks on a wide receiver to complement A.J. Green, who was selected by the team in the first round of the 2011 draft. Of course, this is somewhat of a "no-duh" statement as we've known that they have been considering a wide receiver in the first round for a long time. What we haven't done, though, is looked back through the last few drafts to see how wide receivers that were taken in the last half of the first round have fared.
Dehner mentions that of the last 11 receivers taken with the last 16 picks of the first round, which is where the Bengals would be selecting their receiver if they go that route, eight have had at least 660 receiving yards in at least one season. Of course, this isn't saying a lot since the team is looking to upgrade from Jerome Simpson, who had 725 yards in 2011. However, when you take a look at some of the receivers, drafting one in the first round this year makes some sense.
Those 11 wide receivers are:
- Jonathan Baldwin (2011, Chiefs, 26)
- Demaryius Thomas (2010, Broncos, 22)
- Dez Bryant (2010, Cowboys, 24)
- Jeremy Maclin (2009, Eagles, 19)
- Percy Harvin (2009, Vikings, 22)
- Hakeem Nicks (2009, Giants, 29)
- Kenny Britt (2009, Titans, 30)
- Dwayne Bowe (Chiefs, 2007, 23)
- Robert Meachem (Saints, 2007, 27)
- Craig Davis (Chargers, 2007, 30)
- Anthony Gonzalez (Colts, 2007, 32)
Of those 11 wide receivers, only Hakeem Nicks and Dwayne Bowe have had 1,000-yard seasons and only Dez Bryant, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin were close to having 1,000-yard seasons at one point in their careers. Kenny Britt and Robert Meachem were right behind them, both having seasons with at least 700 yards. So really, only five of these first-round receivers have done something that Jerome Simpson hasn't done. However, they also don't have the pending legal issues that Simpson has.
The wide receivers that are considered to have first-round value this year include Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd and Kendall Wright, while guys like Rueben Randle and Stephen Hill have been included in some first-round mock drafts as well. Of those five guys, only Floyd, Wright, Randle and Hill are projected to possibly fall to the Bengals at No. 17 and that's only if Floyd falls, which could be a long shot.
Now, considering that one of these guys could turn into Dwayne Bowe or Hakeem Nicks, they would probably be worth the pick. However, there is also a chance that the Bengals could use a first-round pick on a guy like Gonzalez or Davis, who haven't done very much in their careers.
Now, you tell me. Do you think the Bengals should consider spending a first-round pick on a wide receiver in hopes that they strike gold two years in a row, or do you think they should stick with the safer positions?