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Video Mailbag: Bengals’ options at wide receiver

Whether it’s in free agency or the NFL Draft, the Bengals will likely be looking at a complementary receiver to A.J. Green.

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On every episode of The Orange and Black Insider podcast, we love to take questions from our listeners. On this week’s show, we received a question question about the wide receiver position.

Whether it’s in free agency or the NFL Draft, the Bengals will be looking to add talent to the group. Brandon LaFell, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent, is an obvious target, given his productive 2016 campaign with the Bengals, but another player at the position could be added, regardless of whether he stays or goes.

A.J. Green is a superstar, but the rare injury he suffered this past season to his hamstring showcased some major deficiencies in the Bengals’ passing game. Tyler Boyd was as advertised, moving the chains with ease, but other big-play options were lacking—even with LaFell stepping up nicely.

The Draft:

Whether it’s at No. 9 overall or in subsequent rounds, wide receiver seems to be one of the bigger needs in 2016. If the Bengals happen to look at the position in the first round, Clemson’s Mike Williams would be the best choice, if available, especially after his great performance in the National Championship.

Other options like the versatile Washington receiver John Ross, Western Michigan’s Corey Davis (who was just mocked to the Bengals) or USC’s JuJu Smith-Schuster could be had in the second round, or later in the first, if the Bengals move back. People have their early round preferences at the position, but the team could easily improve the position, even if LaFell returns.

What about the Browns’ receivers?

Even with all of their struggles, the Browns staked claim to a couple of talented pass-catchers in 2016. The Terrelle Pryor experiment at wide receiver has seemed to work, as the former Ohio State quarterback finished with 77 catches for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns amid the Browns’ terrible quarterback situation.

Back in the 2015 offseason, the Bengals gave Pryor a position change ultimatum and he balked, only to play well as a wideout in Cleveland. He’s an impending free agent and his skill set has to be intriguing for Cincinnati, but there are some wounds to heal. Pryor and current Bengals defensive backs Dre Kirkpatrick and Adam Jones have had a public dispute, and Pryor might eschew a chance with the Bengals after they cut him. On top of that, maybe the Bengals don’t want him as he clearly has tons of beef around the NFL with players on other teams not liking him.

The hot topic surrounds Josh Gordon, though. The embattled wide receiver has all of the talent in the world, but the concerns that made him become a supplemental draft selection have followed him in the NFL. After a 1,646-yard, nine-touchdown performance in 2013, Gordon has been suspended multiple times for drug-related offenses. Gordon almost had a chance to return this season and then ended up entering a rehabilitation center.

The idea of Gordon flanking Green is silly with productive possibilities, but is a flyer on a troubled player worth the public relations nightmare that would undoubtedly ensue? After the Bengals’ 6-9-1 finish in 2016, maybe it would be worth it to take the chance? What do you think?

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