Mock drafts have the Bengals selecting a wide receiver fourth overall in this year's NFL Draft. There's reasons for it. Chad Ochocinco isn't expected to be back -- watching Marvin Lewis publicly rip Chad during every opportunity (like a hanging slider smashed out of the ball park) makes you initially come to that conclusion. But that's not the only reason. Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell are heading into contract seasons this year, leaving Jordan Shipley and Shay Hodge as the only wide recievers signed in 2012.
At some point you have to tend to the position with more than just development receivers that take three years to grow, veteran free agents other teams didn't even want and undrafted college free agents.
However, that type of long-term planning would actually mean that the Bengals actually have foresight (read backup quarterbacks, safeties)
When asked if Chad Ochocinco leaves, is there a number one wide receiver on the team, Lewis said:
"When Chad got hurt, Jerome became the No. 1 receiver. How many (games) did Chad play before he became the No. 1 receiver? I think Jerome will be fine. We'll see where we are."
Not much of a ringing endorsement, but Simpson has as much a chance to be the team's number one receiver, even if the Bengals draft A.J. Green, splice open his DNA to add Tiger blood. Winning.
Simpson posted back-to-back games with at least 123 yards receiving, including a 12-reception effort against the Baltimore Ravens during the season finale. Simpson also recorded three touchdowns during that span.