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Why Bengals won’t draft a wide receiver in Round 2 of 2016 NFL Draft

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The Bengals did not draft a replacement for Marvin Jones or Mohamed Sanu in round one. Could they pass in round two as well?

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Many people who call themselves "experts" pegged the Bengals as a sure bet to take a wide receiver in round one. With the run on receivers in front of them, that expected wide receiver pick did not come to fruition. Because they did not select a wide receiver in round one, many anticipate that the selection could be a wide receiver in round two. But is that a foregone conclusion?

Below are some reasons why the Bengals may avoid drafting a wide receiver in round 2.

There could be nobody worth drafting at #55 overall:

Michael Thomas and Sterling Shepard are arguably the top two wide receivers remaining in the NFL draft - if either one is there, they would have to be the pick. But as we saw with the top three (Doctson, Coleman, Treadwell) going off the board before the Bengals picked in the first round, there is a strong likelihood that both Thomas and Shepard will be gone when the Bengals pick in round two. If the Bengals don’t have the next tier of receivers graded high enough, they would likely pass, since the value may not be there.

They can get quality wide receivers later in the draft:

There are many good prospects who could become value picks in the middle rounds of the draft. There are a variety of reasons why they could fall:

  • Tyler Boyd had a DUI arrest in 2015
  • Braxton Miller is a missed-tackle-machine, but also a work in progress who needs to learn to play wide receiver.
  • Rashard Higgins is great, but could get dinged for a slow 40 time
  • Malcolm Mitchell is a playmaker but had a lack of production at Georgia
  • Tajae Sharpe is good, but is hailing from UMass, though 
  • Leonte Carroo has red flag / suspension / injury issues dragging down his stock

The Bengals may be happy with what they have:

When the Bengals drafted James Wright, he seemed to be an odd pick as nothing more than a special teams guy. But the Bengals really seem to like him as a wide receiver. We didn’t get to see what he could do in 2015 due to injury, but he could be a guy they expect to be a strong candidate for playing time this year, diminishing the need at wide receiver.

With a great tight end, a very good receiving running back, and a stopgap in Brandon LaFell, the Bengals aren’t as desperate as it may seem to find people to throw the ball to right away. Yes, they can certainly use an upgrade and depth behind A.J. Green, but the offense isn’t going to fall apart if they don’t get a wide receiver who can step in and play from day one.

Unexpected values may force their hand:

If a great linebacker such as Myles Jack falls to then, or if one of the great defensive tackles like Chris Jones or Jarran Reed is still there, they would be too good to pass over. If Noah Spence is still there, or Nick Martin, perhaps the value trumps the need at wide receiver.