Cincinnati Bengals: Predicting Stats for Every Cincinnati Bengals WR in 2012
Chad Johnson (no, not Ochocinco, that's when he became a joke), Carl Pickens, and Cris Collinsworth all made marks in Cincinnati as great wide receivers.
Last year, A.J. Green made tremendous strides towards joining such elite company. Now it's time for him to have a supporting cast. There's no doubt that he succeeded with limited assistance on the field, but we're obviously not the only ones who know that he'll be double-covered all year.
With some fresh faces on the roster, what can we expect from the Bengals' receiving corps in 2012?
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Projected 2012 Statistics: 5 receptions, 70 yards, 0 TD
I like Brandon Tate as a special teams athlete, and he may be a receiver by definition, but barring numerous injuries, he's not going to see much playing time on offense.
For a man who didn't have a single reception in 2011, I'm sure a handful of touches will be good enough.
Projected 2012 Statistics: 15 receptions, 110 yards, 1 TD
Ryan Whalen's senior season at Stanford was supposed to be a big one.Unfortunately, an injury held him back and his draft stock largely suffered. Thus, he landed in Cincinnati with a late-round pick.
Whalen only saw four games in 2011 as he continued his struggles with the injury bug, catching four passes for just under 30 yards. Despite the fact that he seems to finally be at 100 percent, the depth of the Cincinnati receiving corps is going to keep him from seeing much action.
I expect that he'll be a situational receiver, only seeing the field to give other guys a break. Catching 15 balls will be a step up for Whalen, and he certainly has the football prowess to pull off the occasional surprise. For now, though, he won't get many opportunities to do so.
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Projected 2012 Statistics: 20 receptions, 250 yards, 2 TD
Here's a guy who I think I'll either be spot on with, or dead wrong on—I doubt there's going to be any kind of in between. Marvin Jones was the second receiver the Bengals took in the 2012 draft, and I'm still interested to see what his spot on the field will be.
His big downfall is that he struggles to get open at times. He knows how to run routes well, but he's not particularly fast and/or powerful. There's certainly a lot of upside as he has good hands.
For now, it's hard for me to place this rookie wideout. At this point, I don't see him being a massive part of the Bengals' 2012 offense, though I expect him to step up in a big way after a couple of seasons under his belt.
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Projected 2012 Statistics: 25 receptions, 330 yards, 1 TD
Amongst all of the massive surprises we saw in 2011, Andrew Hawkins was one that kind of slid into the background. He didn't do anything spectacular, but he filled in the void left by Jordan Shipley nicely, catching 23 passes for 263 yards. He also had some big plays down the stretch.
Despite good hands and tremendous speed, Hawkins lacks size—he's only 5'7", a full inch shorter than myself. Receivers are generally taller men, so that puts Hawkins at disadvantage.
Still, he had a bit of a breakout performance in 2011 (small one anyway), and I basically expect him to repeat that performance this season.
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Projected 2012 Statistics: 31 receptions, 450 yards, 4 TD
According to cbssports.com, Armon Binns is listed as the second receiver, opposite A.J. Green. Either that's a temporary thing or the Bengals are currently extremely high on Binns.
Admittedly, I've not heard much about him, but what I've been able to gather is that he has had issues with dropped balls since his days at the University of Cincinnati and doesn't have great strength. However, he's listed at 6'3" and has good jumping ability, so that might work in his favor.
Since he left UC after the 2010 season, Binns hasn't seen a professional field. For a guy making his debut after not seeing a game day in over a year, 31 receptions may sound generous, but hey, who's to say Binns won't exceed expectations?
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Projected 2012 Statistics: 50 receptions, 675 yards, 5 TD
Maybe I'm being optimistic since Jordan Shipley will be coming off a major knee injury, but I've always liked his skills as a receiver. He has great hands and good speed—escaping defenders has never been an issue.
My belief is that Shipley is best used as a slot receiver. That's not to say he can't be a No. 2 wideout, but I think that'd be out of his comfort zone.
We saw that A.J. Green was good for the long ball in 2011, but here's another guy that can track down those deep passes. I'm projecting Shipley to be highly effective after missing nearly an entire season.
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Projected 2012 Statistics: 60 receptions, 850 yards, 6 TD
Here's where I know I may be getting a little bold—those stats are comparable to A.J. Green's rookie season, minus a couple hundred yards.
I've always been a fan of Mohamed Sanu, despite some criticism about his speed. He may not run down the field like Green, but he's powerful, has good hands and will do anything to make sure he catches the ball. It's also worth noting that he collected over 1,200 yards last season at Rutgers.
He doesn't have tools like Green, but here's my logic about his stellar statistics: as the second receiver (which I perceive he will be), he's not going to be the focal point of the Bengals' offense. Thus, Sanu is going to be covered by mediocre secondary defenders, which will lead to more opportunities.
I may be being overly optimistic about Sanu, but having AJ Green on the other side is a tremendous advantage for any secondary receiver.
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images
Projected 2012 Statistics: 90 receptions, 1,200 yards, 10 TD
Yes, A.J. Green is going to be covered for the majority of the season by some of the best defenders in the NFL. Yes, I fear the sophomore slump.
But Green showed in 2011 that he is going to be one of the league's premiere receivers for years to come. He's lightning fast and has amazing hands.
The Andy Dalton-A.J. Green connection was an epic success at the start of their young careers, and I don't see them taking a step back. They will both solidify themselves as legitimate NFL players this season and Green will have one of the best campaigns in recent Cincinnati memory.