Bengals Position Battle Review: No. 2 Wide Receiver

Aug 16, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Armon Binns (85) tries to make a catch as Atlanta Falcons corner back Dunta Robinson (23) defends during the second quarter at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE

What an odd week it's been for this group, eh? Though he wasn't necessarily being looked at as a No.2 wide receiver, many believed that Jordan Shipley would be one of the team's top offensive targets in 2012. Shipley was released last Friday following the Falcons game, and has since been claimed off of waivers by Tampa Bay.

The battle for the starting job opposite of A.J. Green has not stopped and actually has become closer through the first two games of the preseason. As it stands, one could argue that there are four or five players vying for that spot. Let's breakdown what we've seen so far.

Ryan Whalen: Though he's been hurt most of the offseason, Whalen is a "Jay Gruden guy". He can play inside and out and got some time late in the 2011 season. He'll be a tough oust off of the final roster, but he's also got a huge hill to climb because of the players in front of him and what they've accomplished so far this year.

Marvin Jones versus Mohamed Sanu: These two will always be linked because of playing the same position and being drafted in the same class. Jones has looked more impressive overall this preseason, posting two catches for over 40 yards in two games. He hasn't racked up any touchdowns as of yet, but has an astounding 30-yard per reception average. It's possible that he's more than a one trick pony, but he hasn't shown that in preseason yet.

Sanu's production has been the exact opposite of Jones' so far. He's only had two receptions for 11 yards and a touchdown reception. Like Whalen, Sanu is a player who can both play inside and outside and will likely do so in 2012.

Armon Binns versus Brandon Tate: These two are the front runners for the starting gig and neither has done anything to assert themselves as a clear-cut winner. They both have near identical stats through two games, with Tate only garnering one more reception for six yards more than Binns. Really the only thing that one could argue in Tate's favor is that some of his catches were a bit more acrobatic than that of Binns'.

If you were to end this competition today, Tate would likely be your starter given his position on the depth chart and the fact that he's done nothing to lose it (and that nobody else has done much take it from him). The most pleasant surprise has to be Jones, the fifth round steal out of Cal. On the flip side, one could argue that Whalen and/or Sanu are the biggest disappointments, though Sanu is starting to show some promise after his touchdown grab last Thursday.

The "dress rehearsal" of the preseason is week three, so we will see if someone can really separate themselves from the pack. Marvin Lewis recently said that we shouldn't expect much of a showing on Thursday, but we'll see how accurate that that is. Any way you slice it, this group will be utilized in a committee fashion, much like the running back position.

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