Playing across from A.J. Green, the greatest wide receiver in Bengals history, Marvin Jones does not always get the attention he deserves. The Cal product would be the number one option on a lot of teams in the NFL. He's quick, sure-handed and he fights for the ball. Those attributes helped Jones total 65 receptions for 816 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2015. For highlights of his impressive season, watch the following video:
Bengals fans are holding their collective breath hoping Jones decides to stay with the team once he hits free agency in March. That's because they know they have a potential star other NFL fans know little about.
Here are five reasons why Jones could have his best season yet in 2016:
1. He's done a lot with limited opportunities. In his last two healthy seasons (he missed the entire 2014 season), Jones has 1,528 yards and 14 touchdowns despite being the second or third option on Bengals teams that featured power rushing attacks.
2. He's a better redzone target than the stats reveal. After getting 10 touchdowns in 2013, Jones saw his total drop to 4 touchdowns in 2015. That is largely due to the presence of Green and the emergence of tight end Tyler Eifert, who had 13 touchdowns in only 13 games. If defenses start game planning for Eifert even more, Jones could easily score double digit touchdowns.
3. Despite only 816 yards receiving last year, Jones had 13 plays of 20 or more yards. The only player to have more plays of that variety with fewer yards was Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery, who had 14 plays of 20 yards in 807 yards receiving. In other words, Jones is a big play receiver, and could thrive with more targets.
4. He had an impressive drop rate of 1.9 percent, only dropping 2 of his 103 targets according to sportingcharts.com. That was better than Detroit Lions legend Calvin Johnson (2.7%), New York Giants Pro Bowler Odell Beckham Jr. (3.2%), Denver Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas (5.1%) and New York Jets Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall (5.8%). In 2013, Jones was solid as well, dropping only 3 of his 80 targets for a drop rate of 3.8%.
5. On 150 career touches (134 receptions and 16 rushes) Jones has never fumbled. Not only has he not lost a fumble, but he's never put the ball on the ground. That is the quality of a true professional and the type of player the Bengals will continue to need in 2016.