5. Michael Thomas, wide receiver
6-foot-3, 209 pounds
Michael Thomas could be a longshot in the first round–and teammate Braxton Miller already made our list at wideout, but he’s a sneaky talented player with sky-high potential. Cincy Jungle‘s Cody Tewmey wrote a great piece on Thomas, even asking him a few questions, face-to-face. I encourage you to check it out right here.
Thomas is tall enough to be a solid wideout, but it’s his acceleration that impresses scouts. Here’s what CBS Sports had to say about the receiver:
"The first Buckeye drafted this past spring was wide receiver Devin Smith, who was taken 37th overall by the New York Jets. Time will tell if Thomas is drafted earlier or later than that, but he, not Smith, was the best all-around receiver on the Ohio State roster last year. The nephew of former No. 1 overall pick Keyshawn Johnson, he led the Bucks with 54 receptions in 2014, collecting 799 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. After redshirting in 2013, Thomas emerged last season as a more mature and consistent playmaker, showcasing his excellent blend of size, speed and savvy as a pass-catcher. He is solidly built for the position to work the middle of the field, displaying the light feet, toughness and dependable ballskills to line up inside or out wide. He doesn’t have the same vertical prowess as Smith, but Thomas is far more advanced as a route runner and underneath target with the athleticism to make something happen after the catch (see 2014 Michigan State game). Although his name isn’t yet on the national radar and he’s still searching for his first 100-yard receiving game, Thomas absolutely has top-50 potential and is poised for a highly productive junior year in 2015."
While he’s not a likely pick, it’s still possible. Either way, these are five talented players (and potential superstars) who could make their way to Cincinnati. Also, keep an eye out on their teammates Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott and Taylor Decker, who are all likely to be off the board by the time the Bengals will make their pick. If any of these three guys are still on the board, they’re no-brainers for Cincinnati.