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King: Bengals Like Jones Over Green

Could the Bengals Nab Jones with the fourth pick?

Peter King, SI’s NFL guru and former Bengals beat reporter, has a piece out this week about the growing debate in scouting circles around whether Georgia’s A.J. Green is truly the top wide receiver prospect in the draft.

Since the end of the collegiate season, Green has been generally regarded as the top WR on the board, with some even speculating that he would be worthy of the first overall pick.  Several Bengal followers, including the Enquirer’s Joe Reedy, have made the case for Green to end up in Orange.

However, King points out that Alabama’s Julio Jones has been gaining steam since the combine, and that now there is no clear-cut number one receiver.  In fact, King states that the Bengals in particular have Jones over Green on their current draft board, an important revelation as many continue to believe the Bengals could go receiver with the fourth pick in the draft.

I’m told the Bengals, who have the fourth pick and are considering a receiver, have Jones ahead of Green on their preliminary draft board. Coach Marvin Lewis wouldn’t go that far this morning at the annual NFL meetings, but there’s no question he’s studying each guy. “That’s the fun of the draft,” Lewis said. “Sometimes we as teams all look at things slightly differently. But they’re both going to be outstanding players. They’re big, they play the game physically, they run well.

King states that Jones would be a better fit for Cincinnati as the Bengals are wary of Green’s reputation as a poor practice player, and because Jones is a better blocker in the run game.  If the Bengals are to pursue a more ground-focused attack, receiver blocking becomes more crucial. 

Of course, it remains to be seen if Jones, or Green, will be available at four, or even if the Bengals will still hold that pick by the time the draft rolls around.  Even if both players are available, we’d argue that there’s more chance of the team going quarterback with the pick, especially if Cam Newton hasn’t been nabbed yet (not that we agree).

There’s still a chance that the team could go for a DB or DT too, with LSU CB Patrick Peterson getting some recent pub, but this is the most unlikely scenario in our book.  Marvin Lewis apparently agrees.  King quotes him as saying, “My boss loves offense,” which in a four word sentence confirms my lack of faith in the organization’s structure and my prediction the team will pick a quarterback at four.

Oh well…

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