'Making the Leap' tabs Marvin Jones as an Emerging Star

Rob Carr

The Cincinnati Bengals got an unexpected boost from receiver Marvin Jones in 2013. Drafted in the fifth round out of Cal in 2012, Jones exploded for 10 touchdowns on 51 receptions to go with 712 yards.

While it will be hard for him to catch that many TDs again in 2014, there's no reason to think he won't improve on his receptions and yardage.

NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal tabbed Jones as his latest player in his "Making the Leap" series, highlighting the NFL's emerging stars heading into 2014.

The Bengals love to use Jones' athleticism in the red zone and on the sidelines. He has very consistent hands and showed the ability to break tackles in the open field despite his lanky frame. Playing across the field from Green is a gift, and Jones consistently takes advantage of his matchups.

It was tough to come up with a comparable player because it's rare to see someone so rangy with leaping skills also be so comfortable running after the catch. (Greg Jennings was the best we could come up with. Or a taller Santonio Holmes.) In short: Jones doesn't look like a former fifth-round pick.

The Bengals committed to playing Jones more in Week 15, and he caught at least five passes in every game after that, including a 130-yard game in the team's playoff loss to the Chargers.

Year 3 is often when receivers make their biggest jump in production. Another former late-round Bengals pick, TJ Houshmandzadeh, didn't break 50 yards until his fourth season, the a season-ending injury cost him his third year.

Even Chad Johnson saw a nice spike in production from Year 2-3. He went from 1,166 yards and 5 TDs to 1,355 yards and 10 TDs.

While Jones might not be quite as talented as those two, there's still reason to believe he'll improve this year, and make this Bengals offense even harder to defend.

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