As we pointed out Thursday morning, we're configuring the best Bengals lineup since Cincinnati last appeared in the Super Bowl (1988 season, 1989 calendar year). We'll go through each position, provide the candidates, give you my pick, and then you guys debate/poll the winners.
We opened with the No. 1 wide receiver debate on Thursday with a disagreement. We only ran a poll of three wide receivers. While I picked Chad Johnson, the community choose A.J. Green by 17 points.
Now we're going to focus on the No. 2 wide receiver. We're carrying over Johnson and Carl Pickens from Thursday and adding a few more.
Chad Johnson (six Pro Bowls, two playoff appearances): If the Bengals sold a book that highlighted the best receiving records in franchise history, it might as well be called "What Chad Johnson did in Cincinnati." From '01 through '10, Johnson set the franchise mark in receptions (751), yards receiving (10,783), receiving touchdowns (66), and 100-yard games (31).
Johnson currently owns the four-best seasons in yards receiving, capped by 1,440 yards receiving in 2007. Two of the top four single-game performances belong to Johnson, led by his 260 yards receiving effort against the San Diego Chargers in 2006.
Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Munoz is the only Bengals player to have gone to more Pro Bowls than Johnson.
You also can't dispute his role in putting professional football back on the national map for Cincinnati.
Carl Pickens (two Pro Bowls): Before Chad Johnson, there was Carl Pickens. Though leaving a sour after taste for his eventual departure, Pickens didn't have the luxury of a well-placed Carson Palmer spiral thrown to him. In fact, he caught touchdowns from six quarterbacks during his eight seasons with Cincinnati.
And during those eight seasons, Pickens overall production lists him second in receptions (53), third in yards receiving (6,887), second in receiving touchdowns (63), and third in 100-yard receptions (19). Additionally Pickens holds the franchise record for most receptions in a game (13 against Pittsburgh in 1998), touchdowns in a season (17 in 1995) and most consecutive 100-yard performances (four in 1994).
Carl Pickens also owns the record for consecutive games with at least one touchdown, who scored ten between 1994 and 1995.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh (one Pro Bowl, one playoff appearance): As he learned by signing with the Seattle Seahawks in 2009, Houshmandzadeh is not a primary receiver. But one could make the argument that Cincinnati has never seen a better slot receiver than Houshmandzadeh. Along with natural intelligence, football awareness, and route-precision, Houshmandzadeh was able to overcome some physical limitations to become one of the better wide receivers in the NFL for a time.
Between 2006 and 2008, Houshmandzadeh averaged 98 receptions, 1,042 yards receiving and eight touchdowns. But it was his year in 2007 that set him apart, posting a franchise-best 112 receptions, while generating a career-high 1,143 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns.
Darney Scott: This is a sentimental selection from the "good ol' days" where Jeff Blake heaved passes downfield while Darney Scott left a cloud of dust during his vertical route. In seven seasons with the Bengals (he suffered a major injury in 2000 and missed the entire season), Scott averaged 884.7 yards receiving while scoring 37 total receiving touchdowns.