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Dave Lapham thinks Bengals could double down at wide receiver

The Bengals have a solid group of wide receivers but the Bengals’ radio analyst and insider could see the team drafting two in this year’s NFL Draft.

The Cincinnati Bengals seem fairly solid at wide receiver heading into the 2017 NFL season. Sporting a roster with superstar A.J. Green, the recently re-signed veteran Brandon LaFell, the young sensation Tyler Boyd, the complementary Cody Core, and the electrifying kick returner Alex Erickson, it would seem that there is only one spot up for grabs in 2017. But, according to Bengals insider and radio analyst Dave Lapham, it still could make sense for the Bengals to take multiple wide receivers in the upcoming NFL Draft.

“This year, you have an extra fourth rounder. There will probably be a value wide receiver who has good enough speed even in the fourth round, or the third round, if you take one in the first,” Lapham said on the Locked on Bengals podcast. I would not hesitate to double down.”

The Bengals do have a vacant spot in their wide receiver corps after the release of James Wright earlier this offseason. However, that is only one spot, and a very low spot on the depth chart at that. It is hard to understand why the Bengals would want to draft multiple receivers when there is seemingly one open spot and the depth chart is crowded at the top.

However, you can definitely understand the Bengals’ need for certain types of players at the position. In particular, the Bengals don’t have a speedy wide receiver who can blow by defenders with ease. Furthermore, they could certainly use some help from a solid vertical player. Core is a big receiver who fits the vertical bill, but it won’t help if he struggles to find playing time. When you think about it like that, Lapham’s suggestion of ‘doubling down’ makes more sense.

“I could see them taking, even if they do take a receiver in round 1, if it’s not that vertical guy, I think they’ll take another one that is a vertical guy,” Lapham said. “They don’t get the guy who runs the sub 4.4 [40-yard dash] or the 4.42 guys. They don’t get them. But, they get a guy who is a playmaker who has good speed and is a very talented wide receiver who played well whether it be the ACC or the MAC.”

Lapham has a point about doubling down at the position. If the Bengals want to find a great player who will last for a long time and make a big impact, they have more of a chance of doing that by spending multiple picks at the position, rather than putting all of their investment into one single player.

“It would not shock me, that’s the beauty of having 11 picks, Lapham said. “If you have a pass rusher need or a wide receiver need, double down. It increases your odds to hit one.”

Throughout their history, the Bengals have utilized the ‘doubling down’ strategy at certain positions and found gems in the process. For example, Lapham used the 1981 NFL Draft to explain his point about taking multiple players.

“David Verser and Cris Collinsworth. Verser in round 1, Collinsworth in round 2. Verser didn’t pan out, Collinsworth did,” Lapham said. “No matter what the situation, no matter what position your team needs, double down. I’m not saying take wide receivers in the first and second round, or pass rushers in the first or second round. But, you have multiple picks because of these compensatories, then next year even more so.”

When explained like that, it makes much more sense for the Bengals to ‘double down’ at certain key positions. Most recently, the Bengals took Cedric Ogbuehi in Round 1 and Jake Fisher in Round 2 of the 2015 NFL Draft, both of whom are offensive tackles. Then again, we all know the Bengals’ primary draft strategy is to take the best player available in the early rounds of the draft. In theory, the Bengals could double down at a position simply because those were the two best players available in the draft. But, the downside of finding another David Verser and Cris Collinsworth combination is that one pick could turn out to be a wasted pick. If the Bengals can get it right on one player, that’s an extra pick they will be able to use on a potentially great player at another position.