Tee Higgins to Cincinnati Bengals: NFL Draft 2020

The Bengals selected Tee Higgins, Wide Receiver, out of Clemson University. He was the first pick in the second round and was the seventh wide receiver drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft.


Tee Higgins is 6’4” and 216 pounds. He played three years at Clemson and will be 21 years old at the beginning of the 2020 NFL Season. Higgins was a two-time Tennessee Mr. Football Award winner during his junior and senior seasons in high school. He was ranked the No. 2 rated wide receiver in his recruiting class coming out of high school. Higgins competed for targets with Hunter Renfrow and Deon Cain and dealt with shaky quarterback play during his true freshman season. During his final two years in college, he caught passes from one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Trevor Lawrence. Throughout Higgins’ career, Clemson would often quickly get out to big leads against their opponents. Dabo Swinney usually rested Tee Higgins and Travis Etienne in those situations more than most college football coaches. Swinney’s philosophy of keeping his star players fresh had an adverse effect on Tee Higgins’ market share numbers.

College Production

Tee Higgins broke out at the age of 19 (age during their first season with a 20% receiving dominator rating) in his second season for the Tigers. Higgins’s best season was his junior season at 20 years old. Higgins had 59 receptions, for 1167 receiving yards, and 14 scrimmage touchdowns for a receiving dominator rating (average percentage of their team’s receiving yards and receiving touchdowns) of 29.7% (43rd percentile). Higgins had steady age-adjusted production. He averaged 828.0 scrimmage yards (74th percentile) and 9.3 scrimmage touchdowns (90th percentile) per season for an average scrimmage dominator rating (average percentage of their team’s scrimmage yards and scrimmage touchdowns) per season of 11.1% (47th percentile). Higgins was extremely efficient when he caught the ball averaging 18.6 yards per reception per season (92nd percentile). He was slightly less efficient within the offense as a whole and averaged 0.77 scrimmage yards per team play (57th percentile).

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[profiler]Tee Higgins[/profiler]

Tee Higgins didn’t participate in the drills at the NFL Combine. He did participate in Clemson’s pro day. Higgins has a good height-adjusted speed score of 101.3 (73rd percentile) after running a 4.59-second pro-day-adjusted 40-yard time. He has an uninspiring burst score of 114.2 (16th percentile). Higgins is a tall, lanky wide receiver with good speed for his size. He will rely on his size and length to help him in contested situations in the NFL.


NFL Landing Spot

Cincinnati Bengals: This could prove to be one of the better long term landing spots for a receiver. The Bengals were the third worst offense in 2019, but as promised, Zac Taylor ran the ninth most plays, passing with the fifth highest frequency. The team will be moving on from Andy Dalton for Joe Burrow. You may have heard of him. Last year’s Heisman winner should certainly bring some spark to the Bengals. This is definitely a situation worth monitoring. The WR corps is headed by AJ Green, who the Bengals curiously chose to franchise tag this year. It isn’t news that Green is a phenomenal talent, but he has a prolific injury history. Tyler Boyd was the  WR1 for this squad in 2018 and 2019. His 148 targets accounted for 24% of the team’s total. AJ Green will certainly be gone after 2019, solidifying Boyd’s WR1 role. Speedster John Ross is entering the fourth year of his deal and has underwhelmed as he battles injuries and inefficiencies. It looked like he might finally right the ship in 2019, but injuries cut that short. Mystery man Alex Erickson was targeted 78 times, the first time he had seen over 30 targets in a season, The same can be said for Auden Tate. 

Bottomline: This is an uptempo offense that drafted a franchise QB, and has only one sturdy receiver on their roster.  


Rivals’ Rapid Analysis

Tee Higgins is a very talented wide receiver that had steady age-adjusted production in college. He’s a big play, redzone threat that can also win down the field in jump ball situations. The Bengals invested second round draft capital into Higgins. He has a good degree of opportunity and will compete with Green, Boyd and Ross for targets from Joe Burrow

Tee Higgins is in Shawn’s second wide receiver tier, Shawn’s WR7, and Shawn’s Overall Rookie Rank 15. Shawn would target Higgins in the early-to-mid second round in superflex rookie drafts (early second round in single QB). This is a great landing spot for Higgins. AJ Green has been the subject of trade rumors all offseason and this could be a move that makes them finally pull the trigger. Even if Green sticks around, he is surely gone after this year. Tyler Boyd is the incumbent WR2 (WR1 in Green’s absence), but Higgins possesses the skill set to click with new QB Joe Burrow and become the dominant redzone target for this squad. John Ross is officially on notice, Higgins will easily slide into the WR3 role over him and the rest of the motley crew that made up the Bengals receiver core last season. 

Tee Higgins is in Dave’s second wide receiver tier, his WR7 or WR8 depending on a few other landing spots, and his 14th or 15th rookie overall. Dave would target Higgins in the mid-second round of superflex rookie drafts (early-second round in single QB). Higgins was an elite prospect coming out of high school and didn’t disappoint as one of the nation’s top receivers throughout his college career. Landing in Cincinnati is an initially murky situation with AJ Green and Tyler Boyd already established on the depth chart. However, Higgins enthusiasts can’t complain with Burrow as his quarterback. Higgins has excellent age-adjusted production, good size-adjusted athleticism, great draft capital, and an initially crowded landing spot. Overall, he feels like a safe selection in the middle of the second round of superflex rookie drafts with some nice upside baked in as well.

This article was written in collaboration with Dave Wright. For more analysis check out Dave and Shawn’s previous articles at Dynasty Football Factory. Additionally, you can also find Dave’s dynasty superflex rankings at Dynasty Football Factory. Stay tuned for more rookie wide receiver rapid reaction articles from us throughout the entire NFL Draft. We will also give you instant reactions for priority UDFA wide receivers to help you try and find the next Adam Thielen. Interact with Dave and Shawn on Twitter @ff_spaceman and @ff_walrus. You can listen to our rivalry on our podcast @ATaleofTwoRivals with @ff_banterman.

Information found in this article was gathered from @ff_spaceman’s College Prospect Database, PlayerProfiler.com, Sports-Reference.com, AirYards.com, and a prospect’s college team website.

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