The Bengals hold one of the top wide receivers in the league with A.J. Green. Some might even question if Green is reaching his full potential with Dalton under center. Regardless, there are still question marks looking past Green. Cincinnati has yet to find a reliable second and third receiver to complement the star wideout.
John Ross will be coming into the season healthy after being injured almost his entire rookie season. There has been nothing but good news revolving Ross and his offseason progress from former players that he’s worked out with, Green himself, and coaching staff. I am a huge Ross believer and think that he will command the number two role and be a viable deep weapon for Dalton this year but there is still the possibility of him not becoming the guy.
Cincinnati has relied on Brandon LaFell to command the second receiver role the last two seasons. While he had a productive year in 2016 with Green and tight end Tyler Eifert taking most of the defenses attention, he has yet to step up when they need him to. LaFell is average and aging. He is not a solid number two receiver that the Bengals should rely on and forces zero extra attention to help Eifert and Green in the offense.
The next guy in line would be 2016 second-round pick wide receiver, Tyler Boyd. Given his little opportunity to play any kind of major role in the offense, we still have yet to see what Boyd’s full potential can be. He has shown flashes including the week 17 late touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens securing the game and knocking the divisional opponent out of the playoffs for a second consecutive season. I would like to see Boyd take more snaps away from LaFell and see what the Bengals have after spending significant draft capital in him just a couple of years ago.
The rest of the wide receiver group are likely to see very little snaps in the Bengals offense. Mostly guys that are low depth chart and special teams contributors. Outside of Green, we have yet to see what we have in any of these young receivers. We know what LaFell is and that is not the answer at number two or maybe even third receiver in 2018. Someone will have to step up if this Bengals offense is going to progress from a horrible 2017 season.