As we continue our tour of the 2020 rookie class, we’ll take on one of the most electrifying talents in the draft.
With the first pick of the second round, the Cincinnati Bengals decided to give first overall pick Joe Burrow a big target for years to come.
Tee Higgins is a 6-foot-4 giant of a receiver who will be the team’s replacement for the eventual departure of A.J. Green.
Comparing Higgins to Green, Higgins has an inch and four pounds on Green. Green has the faster 40-yard-dash by 0.06 seconds the faster short-shuttle by 0.04 seconds.
Now, Higgins’ vertical of 31-inches in three inches less than Green’s, which isn’t ideal, but if we look at the tap, they play extremely similar.
Higgins also best’s Green with 1.5 more inches in wingspan.
Higgins is a jump ball expert. He can go up with the best of defensive backs and come down the ball, a young quarterback’s best friend.
Now, Higgins’ situation is a bit different than previous rookie’s we’ve covered.
With the Bengals’ current roster, I don’t see him having much of an impact for his initial season, baring injuries to the likes of Green, Tyler Boyd, etc., but the future role for Higgins is in line as one of the best among the rookies.
Green is currently on the franchise tag and is also 31-years-old. Green has also missed 23 of the Bengals’ last 32 games (72-percent), including all of 2019.
A young team with many holes to fill can’t risk paying a super-star receiver in his 30’s big money who is known to miss time with injury.
On top of Green, Alex Erickson and John Ross are both in the final year of their contracts as well. Both combined for 134 targets and 71 receptions a season ago.
So although the team retains 100-percent of wide receiver targets from a season ago, Tyler Boyd is the only one of which is under contract beyond 2020.
As we continue our comparison of Higgins to Green, which I find to not be as far-fetched as some may want to believe, we’ll take a career average of Green’s 16-game averages.
This comes out to 131 targets, 78 receptions, 1,148 yards and eight touchdowns. Is this something I can see in Higgins’ future? I honestly believe so.
Green did all of this under Andy Dalton and if you’re a follower of me, you know I’ve deemed Joe Burrow the next Dalton several times.
I believe Dalton is Burrow’s ceiling in the NFL and that is just fine for the future fantasy football value of Higgins.
Under Dalton (since 2012), Green has finished as the WR2, WR4, WR13, WR8, WR5, WR10 and WR10 using 16 game averages.
This season may not be the season to cash in on Higgins, which is alright as most receivers take a year or so to get into the swing of things.
If we average out the rookie seasons of the last four first overall selections that were quarterbacks (Jameis Winston, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray) we get a line of 318-525, 3,628 yards and 21 touchdowns.
This is 68 completions, 125 attempts and 672 yards less than Andy Dalton’s 16-game-pace from a season ago.
There simply isn’t enough to go around between Green, Boyd, Higgins, Ross and Erickson.
Another bright spot for Higgins' future is that Dalton’s 16-game-pace last season would have seen him attempt 650 passes and completing 386 of them. That’s 128 more attempts and 60 more completions in the Bengals’ first year under Zac Taylor than all of his years under Marvin Lewis.
It’s also 64 more attempts and 23 more completions than Dalton’s career high.
In the future with less competition and a clear path to replace Green, Tee Higgins is a great selection to take with an average-draft-position of 1.12 in 12-man dynasty rookie drafts.