One of the positions that many prognosticators believe the Cincinnati Bengals will look to address in the upcoming NFL Draft is wide receiver, specifically a number two option to line up opposite AJ Green to limit the double and triple coverages he sees. Even though he put up huge numbers and made the Pro Bowl, and is already considered one of the league’s best receivers, Green had to deal with entire defenses rolling his way to take him out of the game. Another threat would force opponents to cover both halves of the field and would allow Green to see more single coverage, thus giving him the chance to make even more big plays. Another WR is certainly an option that the Bengals will look at, but they may not have to.
In last year’s draft, Cincinnati used two selections on the WR position. Mohamed Sanu was taken in the third round with the expectation that he could upgrade the position from the slot or lined up wide. Combining good size with excellent hands and body control, he seemed to be ready to contribute and take control of the number two spot. He didn’t get to show much early, and in fact his only stats in the first part of the season were passing ones, as he tossed a 73-yard touchdown pass on a trick play. His first reception didn’t come until week seven, his first TD in week nine. Once he got going, though, he showed flashes of what he could do. During a three-game stretch, Sanu recorded 11 receptions for 98 yards and four TDs. He was especially dangerous in the red zone, showing a terrific ability to make catches in traffic. Unfortunately, injury ended his season early and he didn’t get the chance to finish what he started.
Many people believe Sanu will be a slot receiver, but not necessarily a great number two option to Green, and think the team needs to go back to the well in the draft. However, he showed enough in his brief stint last year to deserve a crack at the spot. He is versatile, with the ability to line up all over the field, and he is a solid possession WR, who can make catches in big spots. With Andrew Hawkins in the slot and Marvin Jones providing a great fourth receiver option, Sanu can be the guy the Bengals are looking for. It could be worth the chance to use that draft pick on something else, and let Sanu line up as the number two WR.