Facebook Pixel

    Bengals WR Room: Can NCAA Receiving Leader Charlie Jones Make Offense More Deadly?

    A stacked Cincinnati Bengals air attack now welcomes the NCAA's top receptions leader. Here's a look at how Charlie Jones fits in the Bengals' WR room.

    As stacked the wide receiver room has become for “Who Dey” nation the last two seasons, even the Cincinnati Bengals will look to add advancements there when needed. They did just that by adding the NCAA’s leading wide receiver in Charlie Jones.

    The former Purdue Boilermaker does more than just add soft hands to a place with no shortage of that appendage strength. He has the potential to open up the league’s fifth-best passing offense even more.

    New Bengals WR Charlie Jones Is ‘A Combination of Things’

    Count Troy Walters — a former NFL wideout — from the Bengals’ staff as one who believes the 5’11”, 175-pounder can add a multitude of layers to this already potent offense.

    “[He’s] a combination of a lot of things,” Walters said to the Cincinnati media after the draft. “He has great ball skills. Anytime he’s in a 50/50 contested-catch situation, he seemed to come down with it. And so, really everybody on our roster, all the receivers that we have, have great ball skills, and so he adds to that as a guy that no matter where you throw the ball, he’s going to make the play.”

    MORE: FREE Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

    Walters then verbally illustrated how Jones is before the catch.

    “He’s a technical route runner. If it’s a 15-yard route, he’s going to run 15. If it’s 12 yards, he’s going to get 12. He knows how to manipulate coverages to beat the defenders at the top of his routes,” Walters said. “He just knows how to get open. He’s a football player, and that’s what we need.”

    The eight-year veteran Walters even gave Jones this league comparison: Himself.

    “Very similar to when I was in Indianapolis with Peyton Manning. With Joe (Burrow), he wants you to be in the right spot at the right time, and that’s what Charlie does,” Walters continued.

    How Can Jones Open Up Cincinnati’s Offense Even More?

    Already, Cincinnati possesses two of the harder receivers to cover in 1,000-yard threats Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. Then there’s Tyler Boyd, a past-century mark-hitting wideout himself who still averaged more than 13 yards a catch in this offense last season.

    Still, Cincy clearly operates with the belief they can always add more to this room. But the reasoning behind the Jones pick points to igniting the slot position.

    While Trenton Irwin scored four touchdowns there, he was still limited to 15 catches in nine games of action. Irwin’s spot now faces the looming threat of the 110-catch WR Jones. Then there’s Boyd’s situation, as the Bengals’ top slot option is entering a contract year and will become an unrestricted free agent in 2024.

    Jones has the foot quickness to quickly release off the line after the snap. But from there, he’s skilled at having a combination of displaying a burst and keeping his hips low to exit out of his breaks. Outside of his hands, his eyes are another strong aspect as he knows how to lock in onto the football despite the incoming traffic of defenders.

    MORE: Cincinnati Bengals 2023 Schedule

    He’s not one to let the ball come to his chest, as he chooses to extend his arms and let it hit his palms and fingers first. He’s made catches where he had to stretch his arms to come down with it. But he’s also hauled in receptions when he exposes himself to be hit from the back or upper body … and still wins off concentration and being fearless. One of his better performances was against Penn State, which shows the elements he can bring to Cincy.

    His biggest key, though, will be staying healthy, as there was a period he played in only 12 games from 2018 to 2020 (although he was on the field a combined 26 games his last two college years).

    He’ll also need to prove that his nation-leading production from ’22 was no mirage and that he can carry those elements over to “Who Dey” nation. While he looks quick off his release, Jones has been caught from behind even with his reported 4.43 time in the 40-yard dash.

    Cincinnati is really adding someone with the potential to add more fearlessness and concentration to a WR room where they can welcome a fourth downfield threat. But Jones has the chance to turn the slot spot into a strength next to Chase and Higgins, especially with Boyd facing the closure of his Cincy run in 2023.

    Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

    Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

    Related Articles