Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Cincinnati Bengals: Projecting the Wide Receivers to Make the Final 53-Man Roster

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | One of the most intriguing positional battles to watch during the Cincinnati Bengals' OTAs is the wide receiver position. Currently, the Bengals have a very happy problem -- they have too many talented receivers. This will lead to some very interesting roster decisions later this year.

Last season, the Bengals kept seven wide receivers on the final roster. In 2013, they may not have that luxury due to the depth needed at other positions. For argument's sake, let's say they keep six on the roster this season.

This will lead to some very interesting decisions by the franchise that could result as genius ideas.

However, they could also backfire and allow some immensely talented players to walk away.

First, the wide receivers who are absolutely destined to make this team (barring any serious injury).

1. A.J. Green - Of course Green will be at the top of this list. Hailed as one of the most -- if not the most -- talented receiver in the NFL, he will undoubtedly be the Bengals' opening-day starter.

Green has two great years under his belt that have accounted for two Pro Bowl appearances. He has gone over the 1,000-yard mark in both of his years in the NFL and has a total of 18 touchdowns over that span. He is a do-it-all receiver and will be the nucleus of the Bengals offense for years to come.

2. Mohamed Sanu - Sanu should be recognized as the franchise's number-two receiver by now. Despite missing most of his rookie season, Sanu flourished in the games that he played.

During his last three games in which he was active last season, Sanu caught four touchdown passes. He not only put up impressive individual stats, but he made the entire offense more productive as well. Expect more of the same from Sanu in 2013 -- only in a much bigger role.

3. Marvin Jones - Jones took over last season after Sanu suffered a stress fracture in his foot that kept him out of the remainder of the season. Jones stepped in and was able to contribute immediately. By season's end, he established a great chemistry with quarterback Andy Dalton. They should be able to improve upon that relationship even further in 2013.

Jones will serve as a great change of pace for Sanu on the outside. He is much faster than Sanu and can be used to complement Green when Sanu is asked to slide into the slot or backfield. This combination will make the Bengals offense very versatile and difficult to predict.

4. Andrew Hawkins - Hawkins will make this roster again as the primary slot receiver for the Bengals. His ability to use his vision and speed in space makes him a very valuable commodity to this football team.

Aside from his receiving ability, Hawkins doubles as a punt returner and gunner on special teams making him one of the most versatile players on the Bengals roster. His presence fills the need at three different positions.

This is where it begins to get a little difficult to predict. There are now only two spots available and plenty of receivers left on the roster. All receivers that have not been mentioned yet are the "bubble players" meaning that none of them are locks to make this team whatsoever .

That being said, let's take a stab at the final two receivers to make this roster.

5. Ryan Whalen - Whalen is possibly the most reliable receiver on this football team. He is by no means an explosive player, but he is very consistent and fits the West Coast offense perfectly.

Whalen may have the best hands on the team -- he simply does not drop passes. He also runs very crisp, precise routes which allows Dalton to anticipate his throws when targeting him. This consistency is what will allow Whalen to stick with the Bengals for another year.

6. Cobi Hamilton - This may come as a surprise to many. Hamilton -- a 2013 sixth-round draft pick -- would have to beat out some decent veterans to claim this spot. However, that is exactly what he will do this year.

Hamilton has already been impressing the coaching staff of the Bengals during OTAs this year. He was already drawing praise from the least likely of coaches -- Marvin Lewis. Lewis had this to say in an interview on

"Cobi has not disappointed us at all. We really think he's going to make us better."

Clearly, that kind of praise from the head coach goes a long way. In Hamilton's case, it should help him make this final roster if he can keep up the same pace.

The Bengals certainly do not want to repeat a blunder from 2010 when they allowed a previous sixth-round pick -- the talented Dezmon Briscoe -- to walk due to the crowded wide receiver situation. Briscoe went on to become a decent player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that year. The Bengals, however, won only four games that season and have not retained a single wide receiver from that year's roster.

Now, with Green, Sanu, Jones, Hawkins, Whalen and Hamilton rounding out the wide receivers in 2013 for the Bengals, other players must be cut. These are the players that would be casualties in this situation: Brandon Tate, Dane Sanzenbacher, Roy Roundtree, Taveon Rogers and Tyrone Goard.

It will be very interesting to see how this positional battle will inevitably play out. However, this seems to be a very plausible avenue for the Bengals to take once the dust settles.

Sean O'Donnell is a contributor for Yahoo! Sports and a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the co-host of the Bengals Central podcast on the Pro Football Central radio network. You can follow him on Twitter: @SeanODonnellNFL

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (3)