Wide receiver has been a pretty big need for the Bengals this offseason. As a result, they've not only been bringing in some free agents to shore up the depth, but they've been scouting some key players for the upcoming 2016 draft. Some of the players that they are scouting, visiting with, and projected to take were recently ranked among the best prospects in the nation by Bleacher Report.
If the Bengals do, in fact, draft some of these players, it could be a huge boost to their wide receiver position. All of the top four wide receivers on this list have been linked to the Bengals in some way or another.
4. Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
Treadwell has been considered one of the best receivers in the draft for a while now. He has even been considered the very best prospect at his position at times. The Bengals met with Treadwell in March and the more things start to take shape as the draft approaches, the more likely it seems that the Bengals might actually have a shot at taking him.
The major drawback with him involves a devastating leg injury that slowed him down in 2015. However, he's got incredible ball skills and base athleticism that make him seem like a slam dunk pick, even if he might need a little extra recovery time. Playing opposite one of the NFL's best receivers in A.J. Green should do wonders for the young prospect's career.
3. Corey Coleman, Baylor
There's a good chance that Coleman doesn't even fall to the Bengals. Like Treadwell, they had him in for a visit in March. However, unlike Treadwell, Coleman's stock is primarily based on his speed and agility, rather than his ball skills and pure athleticism. That's not to say you can't rely on Coleman to make the catch, but it's a bit concerning that he had 17 drops in 2015 alone.
Coleman is perfectly suited to be the burner on the edge who gets the ball and makes a huge play out of it, but there's still some work to do if he wants to be a consistent threat in the NFL. He'd be a very good replacement for Marvin Jones, but the Texans, Vikings, and plenty of other teams ahead of the Bengals have needs at receiver. Many teams have also already expressed interest in him, so the Bengals might have to trade up if they're really dead-set on him.
2. Josh Doctson, TCU
A popular pick for the Bengals in many mock drafts, Doctson makes a lot of sense for the Bengals. He's particularly well suited to getting the ball and picking up plenty of yards after the catch as well as putting together very well crafted and expertly run routes.
The Bengals have already had Doctson in for a visit. If you're placing your bets on the Bengals taking a receiver in the first round, this guy seems to be the one who had really caught their attention. That might have a lot to do with his ability to produce yards after the catch, as the Bengals seem to have a serious issue with this kind of production out of their wide receivers.
Last year, Mohamed Sanu averaged 6.4 yards after catch and Marvin Jones averaged 4.5. However, A.J. Green only averaged 3.6, so it would stand to reason that the Bengals will want to find a player who can really solidify this aspect of the offense.
1. Michael Thomas, Ohio State
Michael Thomas is built like a No. 1 receiver. At 6'2 3/4 and 217 pounds, he's an intimidating sight for defensive backs to go up against, with the deceptive speed and hand size to fool defensive backs into poor coverage. He rarely ever drops a ball and has the talent to really mold any offensive system after his skill set.
Even though it has been projected that Thomas might be the Bengals' top target, it seems unlikely that they will want to pursue Thomas as much as they possibly could. To draft him, they would likely have to trade up. To make him fit on the roster, they would potentially have to take catches away from A.J. Green, as Thomas is built and experienced as a No. 1 receiver.
On the off chance that he falls to No. 24, there's a chance the Bengals might give him a shot. If anything, Green and Thomas would be an incredible tandem for a few years until he inevitably leaves in free agency to pursue the opportunity to be the No. 1 receiver.