Rumors indicated the Cincinnati Bengals would go offense at the top of the second round, and after deciding not to trade down from pick 33, that’s exactly what they did.
The Bengals first pick after drafting Joe Burrow was former Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins. And now, much like in 2011, the Bengals go with a quarterback and wide receiver combination back-to-back in rebuilding their future.
What Higgins brings to the Bengals
While he’s not a burner, Higgins is a vertical threat with immense big-play ability. He was an incredible jump-ball receiver who could stack cornerbacks on vertical routes. He’s got great ball-tracking ability and understands how to contort his body in the air and time his jumps on back-shoulder throws.
For being just a 4.5 runner, Higgins has solid run after the catch ability as well. He’s got a surprising extra gear in his back pocket and can be tough to bring down when he’s got a full head of steam.
Higgins had great volume production, but didn’t quite dominate Clemson’s passing game like his box score stats indicated. Still, the 27 career touchdowns makes him an experienced red-zone target and an immediate mismatch at 6-4 and 34” arms.
Why the Bengals picked Higgins
Wide receiver wasn’t an immediate need for the Bengals, but with A.J. Green and John Ross’ future hanging in the balance, long-term stability needed to be added sometime in the draft. Whether Green and or Ross leave in 2021, Higgins can be groomed to start for Burrow’s second season.
The Bengals also value experience in pivotal games, and Higgins has just that as Clemson appeared in back-to-back national championships.
Higgins is just 21-years old and may not be done developing as an athlete. His production relative to his age is impressive, and that size matched with his tape doesn’t normally last this long in normal drafts.
The Bengals saw Higgins as a first-round talent and stayed put at the 33rd-overall pick to get him. Now they have a potential heir to A.J. Green or John Ross and an immediate vertical threat they can plug-and-play from day one.
Also, it doesn’t hurt that Higgins was a Bengals fan. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Bengals WR Tee Higgins said Cincinnati is his favorite team in the NFL.— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) April 24, 2020