The Bengals re-signed Brandon LaFell to a two-year deal this offseason and then the team drafted two wide receivers in the first four rounds of the draft. 2016 sixth round pick Cody Core has been praised as one of the most improved players this year and Tyler Boyd was a second round pick by the team just last year.
With so many talented wide receivers on the roster, there could be a different No. 2 wide receiver in Week 1 than there will be later in the season. The Bengals typically opt to trust veterans (like LaFell) as opposed to throwing young players into new situations (like Ross).
But, if Ross—or one of the other young receivers—proves himself as the season gets underway, the team could opt to start a different player mid-season. In reality, who starts doesn’t matter all that much, as starting is just playing the first snap of the game. What really matters is how the playing time and throws are divvied up. It will be interesting to see how Andy Dalton develops chemistry with his new weapons and how he’s improved his connection with last year’s additions. Outside of Green, the only player with more than one year of experience with the Bengals at wide receiver is Jake Kumerow, who has spent the last two years on the practice squad. On paper, Dalton has plentiful options for getting the ball down the field and his chemistry with each of them could define their usage.
Add in tight end Tyler Eifert and running backs Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard and the Bengals will have a plethora of talented pass-catchers this season.
Who do you think will be the Bengals’ No. 2 wide receiver come Week 1? Do you think it will be the same player by Week 17?