The Bengals would be fools to not add at least one of the extremely talented wide receiver that are flooding this draft. There are plenty of prospects that would likely be considered first-round picks any other season that will likely fall into the second or third round.
One such receiver is Tee Higgins out of Clemson.
Along with being one of the bigger targets in this year’s class, Higgins is on the young side, has produced at a high level in the biggest moments, and stylistically compares to a receiver the Bengals have had for the past decade. Higgins could very well be a great safety blanket at wide receiver to pair with the team’s first-overall pick.
Position: Wide receiver
Weight: 216 pounds
Projected Round: Late First/Early Second
Higgins, along with the rest of the top end wide receivers, are huge wild cards as far where they will land in the draft. There are probably other drafts where Higgins would be an unquestioned first-round pick, but there exists a possibility where Higgins may even be around for Cincinnati’s third round selection. That is largely due to the overall talent at wide receiver this season.
We may be looking at one of the many diamonds in the rough. Higgins has amazing catch radius, which combined with his lanky frame has drawn comparisons to players like A.J. Green. That may be Higgins ceiling, but he doesn’t possesses the top end speed that Green had coming out of Georgia. Higgins also needs to become a little more crisp in his route running to become more of a consistent threat in the NFL, but his contested catch ability should have him see success pretty early on in his career.
Higgins also showed some real fight with the football in his hands after the catch. the kind of fight for yards after catch that can push a player over the top at the next level. He could stand to become a little more physical as a blocker and getting out of press coverage, but as it stands now his ability to adjust to the passes over the top is something that will have to draw attention from safeties.
Higgins may be limited his first season or two as an outside receiver who mostly runs down the fields routes, but he has plenty of room to refine his game to grow into a WR1.
Fit with Bengals
There may not be a better team for Higgins to end up with in the NFL. Cincinnati would have Green be able to take Higgins under his wing for a season as the rookie and rotate snaps with John Ross. Depending on how Ross’ season goes he may or may not be back next season, which would open up a starting role for Higgins in his second season.
Higgins also would only have to become a little more crisp on routes like slants, as Tyler Boyd will likely have the slot position locked down. Higgins wouldn’t have a ton of snaps, but he would have enough to get his feet wet, and that will likely help elevate him into a great luxury for a team that already has Boyd, Green and possibly Ross going forward. Not to mention he would be a great pairing with likely first overall pick Joe Burrow, who made a living off putting the ball where only his wide receivers could get it at LSU.