Bengals open second round by drafting Clemson WR Higgins


CINCINNATI - With a franchise quarterback in hand, the Bengals took a receiver at the start of the second round Friday, drafting Clemson's Tee Higgins with the 33rd overall pick.

No more Dalton-to-Green. Now, it's Burrow-to-Higgins.

Cincinnati chose Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow first overall on Thursday, the first time they've led off the draft since 2003, when they took Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer. Their next pick brought a receiver with whom Burrow can grow.

It's a replay of 2011, when the Bengals drafted receiver A.J. Green in the first round and Andy Dalton in the second. Cincinnati went to the playoffs for five consecutive seasons after that, though the Bengals lost in the first round each time.

Burrow will supplant Dalton, who has a year left on his contract. Green is around for only one more year guaranteed, as the Bengals used their franchise tag on him for 2020. Green wants a multi-year deal to stay in Cincinnati, but the sides haven't been able to agree.

Green is coming off his second straight season marred by injury. He missed all of 2019 after tearing up his left ankle during the first workout of training camp.

The Bengals return Tyler Boyd and former first-round pick John Ross at receiver, along with a group of young players who started to emerge last season.

Other top picks to open the secound round:

The Indianapolis Colts made their first pick of the draft, No. 34 overall and the second pick of Day 2, grabbing Southern California receiver Michael Pittman Jr.

The son of the former NFL running back was a Biletnikoff Award finalist as the top receiver in the country last year. At 6-foot-4, Pittman is big and strong. He had 101 catches for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.

Georgia running back D'Andre Swift was next off the board, going to the Detroit Lions. Swift was the second running back selected in the draft after LSU's Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the final player taken in the first round by the Kansas City Chiefs.

The New York Giants made Alabama's Xavier McKinney the first safety selected in this year's draft, 36th overall.

A versatile defensive back like one of his Crimson Tide predecessors, Pittsburgh's Minkah Fitzpatrick, McKinney is comfortable in man coverage and zone. The Giants had a hard-hitting safety from Alabama in Landon Collins, and now they have McKinney.

The Carolina Panthers selected defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos out of Penn State with the 6th pick of the round.

Another first for this crop: a non-FBS player went when New England made its initial choice after trading out of the opening round. Safety Kyle Dugger of Division II Lenoir-Rhyne was the guy.

An early trade saw the Colts, who already had bolstered the offense with wideout Michael Pittman Jr. of Southern California at No. 34, adding a running back in Jonathan Taylor. A long-time starter and heavily used player at Wisconsin, Taylor also has had some fumbling issues. But he's been a consistently reliable performer and a team leader.

The Jacksonville Jaguars followed by selecting Colorado receiver Laviska Shenault Jr., before the Chicago Bears drafted Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet with the 11th pick of the second round.