The Cincinnati Bengals have one of the best wide receiver rooms in the league but Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus left them off of his list of the top 10 pass-catching tandems in the league. Now, it’s worth mentioning that the duo of Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins were listed as an honorable mention but they were left out of the top 10.
Treash included the Browns though, which was surprising considering Odell Beckham Jr. has mostly been a disappointment since Cleveland traded for him two years ago. The Bengals have three really good receivers on their roster and belonged in the top 10 over teams such as the 49ers and the aforementioned Browns.
Here’s what Treash had to say on the Bengals:
"Higgins is primed for a big sophomore year in the NFL after finishing as the 20th-highest-graded outside receiver as a rookie. It’s also fairly reasonable to expect the new member of the group, 2021 fifth overall pick Ja’Marr Chase, to break out in his rookie campaign, given his prospect profile.Chase ended up as PFF’s highest-rated wide receiver prospect since the college department’s inception in 2014, and he enjoyed a historic year with quarterback Joe Burrowat LSU in 2019. Both players played their part to perfection — Burrow netted a 141.3 passer rating when targeting his wide receiver, Chase generated 3.52 yards per route run and both graded out above 90.0. Chase played with a veteran physicality that season at just 19 years old and is going to bring that same energy to the NFL."
All of that praise and yet the duo was left off the rankings.
The Bengals’ wide receivers were disrespected by PFF.
Higgins really shone bright last year and was exactly what the Bengals were hoping he’d be when they spent a second-round pick on him in 2020. The expectation is that he picks up right where he left off in 2021 and can shine as the Bengals’ WR2 this year.
Everyone is excited to see Ja’Marr Chase take the field and catch passes from Joe Burrow again. The two were sensational at LSU and struck fear into every defense they faced. It’ll be a similar story once again, as the two are reunited and looking to do damage once again.
I didn’t include this part of the blurb, but Treash even said Tyler Boyd could be swapped out with Higgins. The Bengals’ wide receivers are so good that it’s up in the air who is in what spot and all three of them could go off at any moment.
Previously, the Bengals were ranked as having the best wide receiver group in the entire division so seeing Cleveland ahead of them on this list when OBJ has yet to stay healthy and put up decent numbers was surprising. In fact, the Browns offense performed better once OBJ was no longer in the game plan so that seems to speak for itself.
The easiest way to change things in this department is for the Bengals wide receivers to do exactly what people expect of them — Ball out. Maybe a year from now, the pass-catching tandem of either Chase/Higgins or Chase/Boyd will find their way onto a similar list from PFF.