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Top-Five Bengals Players With the Most to Prove: No. 2

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Editor's note: There are a lot more players than five that have something to prove in 2011. In fact, the entire team has something to prove. However, I narrowed down five players that have the most to prove this season and ranked them in order. Here is No. 2......

Wide Receiver Andre Caldwell

Andre Caldwell's future as a Cincinnati Bengal is in jeopardy. Even if Chad Ochocinco is released from the team when the NFL Lockout is lifted, Caldwell could have a rough time getting on the field.

If Ochocinco is released, it means that the Bengals are likely going with A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson as their top-two receivers, and Jordan Shipley isn't going to be moved out of the slot anytime soon. That means Caldwell could be the team's fourth receiver, but he may have to battle for that position too.

When the team selected Stanford wide receiver Ryan Whalen in the sixth round of the 2011 draft, many Bengals fans were confused and disappointed. However, a little more research showed that Whalen will be familiar with Jay Gruden's West Coast Offense, having worked within an offense that was extremely similar while in college. Also, Whalen has shown that he is extremely quick, has great hands and is a great worker. Whalen could give Caldwell a run for his money.

It could be even worse for Caldwell if the Bengals do allow Ochocinco to stick around for one more year. Chad would basically push Caldwell one more spot down on the depth chart and could possibly keep him off the field all together.

But let's say that Ochocinco is released and Whalen doesn't give Caldwell much of a challenge. Caldwell would still have a lot to prove. Like Simpson, he's entering the last year of his contract and if he doesn't prove to the Bengals that he'd be worth re-signing for the 2012 season, he could find himself in some very cold free agency waters. There wouldn't be much of a demand for a wide receiver that hasn't done much for an offense and doesn't have a lot of special teams value.

This is Caldwell's chance to prove he's worth keeping around. That's why he's got the second most to prove of any player in 2011.