clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bengals Player Rankings: No. 23

New, comments

The next player in our countdown went from the practice squad to finishing second on the team in receiving yards last season.

Cincinnati Bengals v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

With the summer in full swing and NFL training camps less than two months away now, we gathered our Cincy Jungle staff to rank the top 25 Bengals of the 2020 season.

This ranking is simply who we believe are the 25 best Bengals heading into next season. It includes veterans and rookies alike, though it obviously is more favorable of players who’ve actually played snaps in the NFL, so don’t expect guys like Joe Burrow to be a top-five player right off the bat.

For a recap of the list, check out our stream here.

Next up on our top 25 Bengals of 2020 is a player that probably wouldn’t have received any recognition if this list was compiled last year.

This wide receiver was drafted late in the seventh round in 2018, and and was waived after being a healthy scratch in his first six games. He was place on the practice squad and was promoted three weeks later.

After a turbulent 2018 season of frequent inactivity, he only saw 12 targets, caught the ball four times, and gained only 35 yards.

Thanks to a wide receiver position full of injuries, he was able to have an expanded role in 2019. He took full advantage, and is now one of the Bengals top 25 players heading into 2020.

No. 23: Auden Tate. wide receiver

Auden Tate tested so poorly at the combine that he nearly went undrafted. The Bengals picked him up with their 253rd pick in a draft of 256 picks.

Tate had a reputation of being a jump ball receiver at Florida State, and scored on a quarter of his receptions. But NFL scouts worried that he didn’t have the speed to compete in the pros. With his lack of athleticism, he wouldn’t even be a valuable player on special teams, so he would have to make the team on his offensive skills alone. Would his vertical ability be enough?

He proved in 2019 that it would be.

Tate seemed to make highlights every week as he made absolutely mind-boggling catches. His ability to make catches in tight coverage led him to 40 receptions and 575 yards. He trailed only Tyler Boyd in receiving yards in 2019.

With injuries to A.J. Green and John Ross III, Tate’s main competition for snaps was a pair of undrafted rookies. That is how, given his poor athletic testing, he was able to emerge as the teams’ number two receiver.

In 2020, Green and Ross are going to enter the season fully healthy. Boyd will be looking to add a third 1,000 yard season to his resume. Rookie Tee Higgins will join the squad as well, and try to become Joe Burrow’s favorite target to grow with.

Where does this leave Tate? What do the Bengals do with a seventh round pick in a room of first and second-rounders?

Unfortunately for Tate, he doesn’t look like he will be poise to take on such a prominent role. The most productive season of his career may have already be behind him. This doesn’t mean that he won’t be valuable next year, though.

Tate has a unique and valuable skill set that no one else on the team can mimic. He will still get some important snaps in certain scenarios, and may even have plays designed for him. He may be one of the best and most consistent jump ball receivers in the league.

Even though Tate will likely be the team’s fifth receiver, he will still have an important role to play.