October 25, 2014

Decision Points: WR

The Bengals have the 4th overall pick in the NFL draft that begins this Thursday, April 28th at 8 PM. The teams have 10 minutes to make their selections, so the Bengals will pick somewhere around 8:40 or so. This week I am looking at the players the Bengals will be considering with the fourth overall pick: today I will look at the wide receiver position.

Reason for interest: Starting WR Terell Owens is an unrestricted free agent and is not expected to return to the team. Starting WR Chad Ochocinco is in the final year of his contract and rumors swirl that the team plans to trade or release him. WRs Andre Caldwell and Jerome Simpson are in the final year of their rookie contracts.

The Prospects:

AJ Green, WR, Georgia. 6’3”, 211 lbs. Green was the consensus top wide receiver until the scouting combine, and still is on many draft boards. He had 848 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2010 for the Bulldogs, but was suspended for the first four games for violating NCAA rules by selling his Independence Bowl jersey for $1000, that accoring to ESPN.

What to like: Green is an NFL ready route runner that can get by DBs with excellent moves. He possesses great ball skills and has body control to make tough catches and get his feet down. He has elite size to go up and get jump balls.

What to worry about: Green doesn’t have elite speed for a player of his pedigree. He missed three games in 2009 due to injury. He is adequate at run blocking. He is not a factor on special teams.

Outlook: He should be somewhere between Andre Johnson (Texans) and Roy Williams (Cowboys). His speed is the biggest concern.

Julio Jones, WR, Alabama. 6’2”, 220 lbs. Jones had an outstanding performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, despite a foot injury that required surgery. He ran an impressive 4.34 in the 40 yard dash and looked excellent in the receiver drills. He posted over 1100 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2010.

What to like: He has elite speed and above average size for his position. Versatile, he is an excellent kick returner and also a good downfield blocker. He can make the spectacular catch. He is very athletic with a 38” vertical at the combine.

Who to worry about: He has a long history with injuries, including the broken foot and a broken hand. His speed is deceptive, as he doesn’t seem as fast in pads.

Outlook: He should be somewhere between Roddy White (Falcons) and Santana Moss (Redskins). Durability is the biggest concern.