The Bengals followed up their selection of a franchise quarterback in Round 1 by getting him a weapon in Round 2. They did not expect Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins to be on the board at pick No. 33, but they were excited to add another first-round talent to their roster.
Higgins has caught 118 passes for over 2,103 yards and 25 touchdowns in the last 2 seasons. He has also drawn comparisons to Bengals’ wide receiver A.J. Green, which makes sense because Higgins says he models his game after Green.
Let’s take a look at what Higgins brings to the table.
Higgins has incredibly natural hands.
Some people use that term to mean “good hands,” but that’s not what I mean. I literally mean natural. When he catches a ball, he has a way of making it look effortless, as if catching a football was an involuntary reflex. He catches the football the way most of us breathe.
Here’s an example. This ball is thrown slightly behind him. He reacts and makes the catch like it’s nothing, then continues up field.
That first clip may have looked like an everyday sort of play, but this one doesn’t.
In addition to natural hands Higgins has incredible body control as he demonstrates with this sideline catch.
Watch as he gets his foot down in bounds and reaches out to make the catch.
But this is where he makes his money. Just like Adriel Jeremiah Green, Higgins wins by going up and plucking the ball out of the sky.
Higgins is excellent in jump ball situations and great at making plays on back shoulder fades. This will make him an excellent companion for Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow.
Higgins’s draft stock fell in the eyes of some after poor testing at both the NFL Combine and his Pro Day.
As we’ve already discussed, speed isn’t how he wins. But he has plenty of play-speed on the field.
Take a look at this clip where he blows past the defense on the vertical route, then outruns the pursuit for a touchdown.
Or how about the only run of Higgins’s college career? This 36-yard touchdown against LSU in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Higgins gets the ball on the reverse and outruns fellow second-round pick Grant Delpit, then shakes off the desperate effort of third-round pick Jacob Phillips. Both of those guys were drafted by the Cleveland Browns by the way. Finally, he lowers his shoulder and powers through second-round pick Kristian Fulton, now of the Tennessee Titans, on his way into the end zone.
Higgins is an incredible talent who has the ability to be the next in a long line of star wide receivers for the Bengals including Isaac Curtis, Cris Collinsworth, Eddie Brown, Carl Pickens, Darnay Scott, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Green.
It certainly won’t hurt his cause catching passes from QB1.