Trevor Lawrence is already being considered the first overall pick in 2021, and has been for some time.
The Bengals drafted the player he threw to the most: Tee Higgins.
As Lawrence’s most targeted receiver at Clemson, Higgins hauled in 118 receptions, 2,103 yards, and 25 touchdowns in 30 games together. Many saw Higgins as a first-round draft pick, but a loaded wide receiver class allowed him to hang around until the 33rd pick.
The Bengals drafted Higgins the day after drafting their franchise quarterback, and the No. 9 and No. 85 connection will be back in full force for years to come. Joe Burrow and Higgins have two National Championships and three appearances between them, and they will be looking to add more hardware to their trophy cases in Cincinnati.
Weight: 215 lbs
Hometown: Oak Ridge, TN
Higgins recently signed his rookie deal. According to Spotrac.com his four-year rookie contract will pay him a total of $8,686,785 with a signing bonus of $3,877,664. With nearly $6 million guaranteed at signing, the Bengals realistically wouldn’t part ways with Higgins until the 2023 offseason, but that’s a worst case scenario. It’s more likely that the Bengals would consider extending Higgins during that offseason, as he would be entering the final year of his contract.
In college, Tee Higgins has played in two national championships and is the favorite receiver of one of the best quarterbacks in the 2021 draft class.
As a true freshman, Higgins only played in seven games but averaged over 20 yards per reception. In 15 games the next year, he led the National Championship-winning Tigers in receptions. Over the course of their championship run, Higgins hauled in 59 passes for 936 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The next season, Higgins played in another national championship, but lost it to Joe Burrow’s LSU Tigers. That season he had another 59 receptions, but gained a total of 1,167 yards, increasing his average per reception by almost four whole yards. He also scored a total of 14 touchdowns from scrimmage, including one touchdown off of a 36-yard rush.
The Bengals drafted Higgins with the 33rd pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Getting Higgins in the second round was huge for the Bengals, since most draft scouts and analysts put a first round grade on him.
Uncertainty surrounded the Bengals’ wide receiver group entering the 2020 draft. Tyler Boyd was the only consistent player in the room with injuries and contract questions surrounding John Ross III and A.J. Green.
Green did sign the franchise tender and said he wants to retire a Bengal, but depth is something the Bengals need at the position. Injuries to Green and Ross in 2019 led to several former college free agents, such as Damion Willis, being thrust onto the field.
Whether Higgins is a starter or on the bench in 2020, his abilities will be appreciated either way. The Bengals’ wide receivers don’t have the best injury history so even his presence on the bench is an advantage.
But Higgins should still have plenty of playing time. While Auden Tate is highly underrated, he is not very versatile. Higgins could spend some time lining up across the formation from Green, and getting favorable coverage. If Green and Boyd are on the field, the focus will be on them, leaving Higgins in single coverage.
Wide receiver was an important position for the Bengals entering the draft, and they picked a first-round player in the second round.
While Green says he wants to retire a Bengal, there’s no guarantees in place at the moment, so Higgins is valuable security against his departure.
The Bengals have big plans for Burrow, and Higgins is a part of them. It would take something monumental to keep him off the team in 2020.
Roster Odds: 99%