Already stacked with Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, the Bengals added to that deadly duo by making it a terrifying trio after the selection of Ja’Marr Chase with the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Chase previously played with Joe Burrow at LSU and the two had quite the connection in the season that saw LSU win the national title.
These three are the names to watch at the wide receiver position in Cincinnati, but what does the rest of the depth chart look like?
Here’s the Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver depth chart entering training camp.
- Ja’Marr Chase
- Tyler Boyd
- Tee Higgins
- Auden Tate
- Mike Thomas
- Stanley Morgan Jr.
- Trenton Irwin
- Scotty Washington
- Trent Taylor
- Riley Lees
We’ve already mentioned the three starters and unless someone gets injured in training camp or preseason, that isn’t changing. Behind those three is where the battle is to be had in training camp.
Tate is likely going to win the No. 4 job, as he’s proven himself to be a dependable weapon in previous years. Tate, a former seventh-round pick in 2018, didn’t do a ton last year but in 2019 hauled in 40 receptions for 575 yards and a touchdown through 12 total games and 10 starts. His 2020 season was disappointing but he proved he can be a decent starter.
Thomas is heading into his second year with the Bengals organization after a promising inaugural season in Cincy. He grabbed 13 receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown during 14 games, but he’ll have to prove he can be a reliable target again in 2021.
Morgan went undrafted out of Nebraska and has played for the Bengals the past two seasons. He’s appeared in 17 games and caught three passes for 18 yards during that time. Like Irwin, his roster spot isn’t guaranteed and he’ll have to show something in the preseason.
Irwin is entering year three with the Bengals after going undrafted out of Stanford. He’s yet to do much as an NFL receiver, totaling just one catch and five yards in two seasons. Still, he’s spent time with this team and could be a reliable backup option. He will definitely be fighting for his roster spot though.
There isn’t much to say about Washington, who has an uphill battle to make the team this year. He went undrafted out of Wake Forest and hasn’t appeared in an NFL game yet.
Taylor was signed this offseason and will more than likely be competing for a return specialist job. Taylor spent the past three seasons with the 49ers and tallied 731 yards and three touchdowns in 41 games.
Lees was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Northwestern and is another option for the Bengals to use in the return game. He’s a versatile player who did it all at Northwestern and there’s certainly a lot of intrigue surrounding him.
The Bengals will have to decide how many wide receivers they want to carry this year. If it’s six, obviously Chase, Boyd, Higgins, and Tate are making the cut and that’d leave two more spots open for the taking between the other six guys.
Thomas did well in limited action last year and the team seems to like Morgan, so I’d give them the edge. Taylor could also make it due to his returning abilities but that’ll be a competition to watch out for as well.
It’ll certainly be an interesting position battle to see play out this summer.