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Wide receivers Mike Williams and Josh Reynolds meeting with Bengals at Combine

The Bengals appear to be looking for an impact receiver to pair with A.J. Green.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals are largely set at wide receiver, but the coaches are still eying some of the top pass-catchers in this year’s NFL Draft.

According to, the Bengals are meeting with Clemson receiver Mike Williams, as well as Texas A&M receiver Josh Reynolds at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

If it wasn’t clear the Bengals are looking for an A.J. Green running mate in any round, it is now. Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams, one of the draft’s top two receivers, said he’s meeting with the Bengals formally Friday night. Texas A&M’s Josh Reynolds, a mid-round projection, said he met with them Thursday night complete with grease board.

“They corrected me on some stuff,” Reynolds said.

Both Williams and Reynolds are the kind of big, jump-ball receivers that would be the perfect complement to A.J. Green in the Bengals offense, similar to what Marvin Jones was before he left to sign with the Lions last year. It was clearly a missing element to the offense in 2016 as Cincinnati didn’t have the kind of speedy, stretch-the-field receiver to pair with Green.

Even though Brandon LaFell, Tyler Boyd and Cody Core all had their moments, they just don’t bring that big receiver element that Jones brought and what both Williams and Reynolds would bring at the NFL level.

Williams was a monster during his college career, racking up 57 catches for 1,030 yards (18.1 ypc) and six touchdowns as a sophomore in 2014. But in 2015, Williams nearly saw his career end after fracturing his neck by hitting his helmet against the goal post on a touchdown catch in the season opener.

Though Williams missed the rest of the season, he returned with a vengeance in 2016, catching 84 passes for 1,171 yards and 10 scores. Many of those scores came in jump-ball situations in which he simply out-muscled and out-jumped his defender with ease.

Williams is a lock to go in the first round and may not even make it out of the top 10, so if Cincinnati wants him, it will cost them the No. 9 pick. That’s awful high to draft a receiver for a team that doesn’t need one that badly, but if the Bengals simply go with the best player available, Williams may be that guy.

Ideally, they’ll be able to get that kind of guy in the latter rounds, which is where Reynolds will go. He’s a good receiver, and while he’s not of the same caliber of Williams, he does enough good things to be a viable No. 2 receiver next to Green.

Reynolds’ best college season came as a senior in 2016 when he caught 61 balls for 1,039 yards and 12 scores. Low and behold, compares Reynolds to the man Cincinnati is looking to find in this draft.


BOTTOM LINE Long and tall, Reynolds is a dangerous vertical threat thanks to his ball tracking and ball skills over eye-popping deep speed. Reynolds is a menace in the red-zone and can mismatch smaller cornerbacks in the air. He lacks play strength which could cause problems for him early in his career against physical corners, but his toughness, work ethic and football intelligence should overcome those concerns and help him carve out a career as a second or third receiver in the league.

CBS projects Reynolds to be drafted in Rounds 4-5, where the Bengals have a combined four picks. I think he’s more likely to be a Bengal since he won’t cost nearly as much to get as Williams would. This team just has too many other pressing needs to take a receiver in the top 10.