This isn’t a case of Carl Pickens or Cris Collinsworth, of Terrell Owens or, well you get the idea. The Cincinnati Bengals have had some really overrated receivers on their roster over the years.
With quarterbacks like Ken Anderson, Boomer Esiason and Andy Dalton on the roster over the past 30 seasons, the wide receiver play should have been better, stronger and more damaging to opposing secondaries.
It hasn’t happened.
On a team that has a rising quarterback in Andy Dalton and his favorite target in A.J. Green, they have need for a solid second receiver on the roster. They have one in Mohamed Sanu.
I talked earlier last week how he is a “must-have” as a late-round talent in many fantasy leagues. While there are so many offensive weapons now on the Bengals' roster, Sanu could get lost in the shuffle of potential game-breakers.
It’s a great problem for the team’s offensive coordinator, Jay Gruden, to have. It should also bring a smile to the face of head coach Marvin Lewis.
When a receiver is targeted 25 times, makes 16 catches and scored four times on the season, all that tells you is he is a production machine. The fact much of the damage he did last season was in the second half also tells you 2013 could be a huge year for the second-year Rutgers star.
And to think he lasted until the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
For everything Sanu can be, the Bengals hope linebacker James Harrison will be.
The former Steelers' linebacker, hard-hitter and mouthpiece will be asked to play on a linebacking corps with the likes of rising star Vontaze Burfict and steady performer, Rey Maualuga. At 35 years old, most linebackers are at the end of their careers, and Harrison may have something to prove after being such an important part of the Steelers' defense for years, then being released in the offseason.
We all expect Harrison to be the same player he was for year after year, but after the wear and tear begins, it is hard to stop it. Harrison is not Ray Lewis and a shadow of his former self. While he will fit in the Bengals' defensive scheme implemented by coordinator Mike Zimmer, he will fall short of expectations.
For that reason, he is overrated by many. For that reason, it is a good thing that the Bengals have other defensive stars who can step forward and pick up the slack.