Bengals should stay away from wide receivers in early rounds

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 27: (L-R) John Ross of Washington poses with Commissioner of the National Football League Roger Goodell after being picked
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 27: (L-R) John Ross of Washington poses with Commissioner of the National Football League Roger Goodell after being picked /

The Cincinnati Bengals still have question marks at the wide receivers position but should stay away from early round receivers in the draft.

The Cincinnati Bengals have been aggressive drafting offensive playmakers in recent years during early rounds of the NFL draft. That should not be the case in 2018 as there are far greater needs and already enough young talent at the position currently on the roster. The team still needs someone to command the starting role opposite of star wide receiver A.J. Green but that opportunity should be given to someone already on the team this year.

Wide receiver Brandon LaFell has been holding the second wide receiver role the last two seasons and has proven to be an average second receiver. The 31-year-old receiver is not a guy that is going to command extra attention in order to free up Green or when healthy tight end Tyler Eifert. Without being given extra attention, LaFell has yet to show that he can be an imminent threat and help when one of those two star players go down.

In the last two seasons, the team has drafted four wide receivers, two in the first couple rounds. Last season the team spent their ninth overall pick on the NFL combine star wide receiver John Ross who barely saw the field his rookie season due to injuries and coaching. Wide receiver Tyler Boyd was drafted in the second round of the 2016 draft and has seen limited playing time as well. The team also spent a fourth-round pick on wide receiver Josh Malone in 2017 and a sixth-round pick on wide receiver Cody Core in 2016.

Ross has been working hard this offseason to get ready for his second season with the Bengals and prove that they were right to draft him in the top 10 of the draft. He has worked with numerous wide receivers around the league after getting healthy and has also spent time working with former Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Ross should get an opportunity in camp and preseason to show what he can do and prove that he deserves the second wide receiver spot.

Ross has been given the bust label by many fans already after his injuries in his rookie year and fumbling on the one time he got the ball. These days fans are quick to give out the bust label but we have yet to see Ross fully healthy in a Bengals uniform and the high draft pick warrants a real opportunity to hold down the spot opposite of Green. If the Bengals can address the offensive line and give quarterback Andy Dalton some time in the pocket, Ross could be a huge deep threat that would warrant extra attention.

Tyler Boyd has shown some promise in his little playing time as well. In fact, just last season he helped the Bengals defeat their divisional rival the Baltimore Ravens in a week 17 match with his touchdown catch at the end of the game. The win knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs for the second year in a row. Still waiting for his opportunity to contribute to the offense with only 307 offensive snaps last season (31.91% of total offensive snaps) he should be getting more chances in 2018.

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Since 2011 when the Bengals drafted Green and Dalton, the team has spent seven first and second round picks on offensive playmakers. It’s time to give some of those playmakers a real shot and see what they can do instead of wasting another pick that could be used in a big area of need. LaFell could likely be cut as a cap casualty to save some money in order to sign other players to extensions or bring in more help following the draft. Give this opportunity to your young receivers, five of which have two years or less of experience, and see what they can do.