Brian Callahan Explains Traits the Bengals Are Looking For at Wide Receiver

Surrounding Joe Burrow with weapons has to be a priority
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Wide receiver is one of the Bengals' most pressing needs this offseason. They struggled to push the ball downfield in 2020. Part of that had to do with the offensive line and part of that had to do with personnel. 

A.J. Green will likely sign elsewhere after an underwhelming 2020 season. The seven-time Pro Bowler was hoping to recapture his WR1 status, but that didn't happen. 

John Ross was non-existent for most of the year. 

Auden Tate might contribute in 2021, but they can't expect him to be a field stretcher. Cincinnati needs more speed, but don't take our word for it. 

Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan discussed the wide receiver position on the Locked on Bengals podcast. 

"The first thing is you want a guy that can run. We do need some speed," Callahan said. "A guy that can stretch the field and push the field with his speed. Enough to where teams are at least concerned about it. They don't have to be a 4.2 [40-yard dash] or anything like that, but just enough to be a concern for a defense that draws attention.

"We have smart receivers and we need more smart receivers. Guys that understand coverage, understand route recognition, understand conversions, understand that the quarterback is really smart and we work at his pace. You gotta be able to handle his brain and his tempo—the way that he wants to work. Be able to see things the way that he sees them—fast because that's what he expects."

Finding a player that can come in and make an instant impact is crucial for a Bengals team hoping to take significant steps forward in 2021. 

Adding a weapon like Ja'Marr Chase, Kyle Pitts or Jaylen Waddle should be in play with the fifth overall pick, especially of the Bengals can address the offensive line in free agency. 

"Obviously [we want] guys that got some ability to play outside as a true outside wide receiver that can go win one-on-one," Callahan continued. "Tee Higgins is that type of guy. Tyler Boyd's the best slot receiver in football if you ask me. We need another guy who can go out there and win one-on-one versus whoever lines up against them, really on whatever route that gets called." 

Could that guy be Chase or another one of the top wide receivers in the draft? The Bengals aren't expected to go after Kenny Golladay or Allen Robinson in free agency. Those are the two No. 1 free agents expected to hit the market. 

Adding another high-end weapon is crucial for Burrow's success. Callahan gave even more detail about the Bengals' offense, the wide receiver position, the offensive line and more during the interview. Listen to the entire podcast below. 

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