3 NFL Draft WR sleepers who could be Tee Higgins' long-term replacement for the Bengals

The Bengals can't afford to bring Tee Higgins back next season. Here are three draft sleepers who can fill his shoes in Cincinnati.

Dec 31, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) gets his
Dec 31, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) gets his / Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Ladd McConkey, Georgia

McConkey is a well-known receiver to fans who watched his exploits at Georgia. Injuries were a real problem for him during his final campaign with the Bulldogs which will negatively impact his draft stock. The Bengals are a team that might see fit to gamble on his medicals in Round 2 or 3.

Some mock drafts will slot McConkey towards the bottom of Round 1 but questions about his athletic traits will prevent him from being drafted that high. He's got good speed but he's far from an elite sprinter. That, combined with his below-average strength will force McConkey to be a finesse slot receiver at the pro level.

The good news for McConkey is that he already has the sort of route-running skills required to create space without elite speed. He may not threaten opposing secondaries on go routes the way Higgins did, but he can terrorize opposing defenses on intermediate routes. It's easy to imagine how McConkey could become Burrow's security blanket on third down.

Some scouts are going to look at McConkey and see Cooper Kupp. Others will see a wideout who lacks the functional strength to thrive in the NFL. The Bengals would be a perfect landing spot for the former Georgia star. They can deploy him as their starter in the slot right away and get immediate production from McConkey.