Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins was the seventh wide receiver selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. Higgins far outperformed that selection during his rookie season. Higgins was third in receptions and receiving yards and fourth in touchdown receptions among 2020 rookie WRs. Higgins is a centerpiece of the Bengals’ offense.
The 33rd pick overall in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Higgins had 67 receptions for 908 receiving yards and six TDs last season. Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings, a teammate at LSU of Bengal QB Joe Burrow, led 2020 rookie WRs with 88 receptions for 1400 yards and added seven TDs.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Chase Claypool led 2020 rookie WRs with nine TD receptions. Several high-profile WRs were selected ahead of Higgins. Henry Ruggs of Alabama was the first WR chosen in the 2020 NFL Draft when he was selected 12th overall by the Las Vegas Raiders. Jerry Jeudy was the second WR taken.
A college teammate of Ruggs, Jeudy was selected 15th overall by the Denver Broncos. Jeudy had 52 receptions for 856 with three TDs. CeeDee Lamb of the Dallas Cowboys was arguably one of only two WRs with Jefferson that outperformed Higgins as a rookie. Lamb had 74 receptions for 935 yards and five TDs.
Dallas chose Lamb with the 17th pick out of Oklahoma. Jalen Reagor of TCU went 21st to the Philadelphia Eagles, Jefferson 22nd to Minnesota and Brandon Aiyuk of Arizona State, 25th to the San Francisco 49ers. After all of those players were drafted Higgins became the first WR chosen in the second round.
Higgins surpassed Bengals legend A.J. Green and teamed with slot receiver Tyler Boyd as the favorite targets for quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow and Higgins should go down as one of the best tandems taken in the same draft in NFL History. The San Diego Chargers drafted Drew Brees and LaDainian Tomlinson in 2000.
Tomlinson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017. Brees will be in 2026 after returning following the 2020 season. With Burrow healthy, the Bengals’ offense should continue to evolve with Burrow and Higgins play pitch and catch for the Bengals for the foreseeable future.