The 2020 NFL Draft featured a wide receiver class that has the potential to be historically good. No one is a better example of this than Cincinnati Bengals pass catcher Tee Higgins. Following a productive collegiate career at Clemson, Higgins declared for the Draft, and while a big-bodied receiver with sure hands and the ability to run crisp routes would normally hear his name called pretty quickly compared to the rest of his class, Higgins went with the first pick of the second round, the seventh receiver to go in the Draft.
He managed to have a better rookie year than most of the names called ahead of him. Higgins reeled in 67 balls for 908 yards and five touchdowns for the Bengals this season, leading his team in yards and touchdowns and sitting second only to Tyler Boyd in receptions. The future looks bright in Cincinnati with Heisman winner Joe Burrow under center, and it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where Higgins turns into his favorite target.
On Wednesday, Uproxx Sports caught up with Higgins to discuss the Super Bowl, his rookie year, The Office, and more.
What are you most looking forward to on Sunday?
I think I have the Chiefs winning.
Really? Why the Chiefs?
I mean, Pat and this offense has been hot. They’re lethal right now. And you got guys like Tyreek, you got guys like Mecole, Sammy, Le’Veon, Clyde. They’re deep, and the way they attack, the way their offense … they’ve been unstoppable this season.
I’m glad you said that because I want to ask you about the pass catchers in this game. As a receiver, it has to be fun knowing you’re going to be tuning in to watch guys on both teams who are almost guaranteed to make something happen, right?
Of the number of guys, who do you like watching the most and why?
I like watching all these guys, but the guy I watch the most is definitely Mike Evans. He’s a big guy like me, and I really see how he goes about and how he plays his game and the way he attacks the ball in the air. So, that’s one guy that I’m really excited to watch.
You just had a fantastic rookie season, I know you just kind of touched on this, but what can you take from a guy like Mike and apply it to your game going forward?
The way he comes off press against the DB, the way he attacks the ball, runs his routes versus certain coverages and stuff like that.
Let’s talk about your rookie year, where were you happy with how you performed and what do you plan on focusing on this offseason?
I was happy with how I performed this season. My physical side of the game is one thing I’m definitely focused on this offseason.
You got to spend this year around one of the best to do it in A.J. Green, what was the biggest thing you learned being around someone like him every day?
Just how he goes about his self everyday. How he takes it so serious, how he takes care of his body. There’s things that I learned and things that I’ll definitely use during my career in the NFL.
You’re a fascinating guy because you, over the last two years, caught passes from two of the best quarterbacks I’ve ever seen in Trevor [Lawrence] and Joe. Where are the areas, on and off the field, where they’re the most similar?
I’d say on the field, they’re both really focused, really take their game to the next level. Off the field, they’re both locked in when they’re watching film on the opponent. So I feel like those are the two areas where they really can compare.
What do you have going on with Panini?
I’m here doing a Panini event. They’ve been treating me well, these guys are unbelievable and just being able to see my face on a card has been a dream come true.
I know you’re new to the NFL, but you’ve played a ton of football over the years. Is there one moment from your career you want to be on a trading card?
My first 100-yard game, it was against the Colts. That definitely would be a big moment.
You keep the ball from that game or anything like that?
I actually didn’t keep that ball, but my first touchdown against the Eagles, I kept that ball.
Two final questions: I know you can really hoop, and I know you were the Mr. Tennessee basketball runner-up back in the day. Have you played with the rest of the Bengals and are you the best basketball player on the team?
I haven’t played with them yet because of COVID protocols, but I’m really looking forward to it. As of now, I think I am the best player on the team.
Last one, you asked for Netflix recommendations on Twitter recently and made clear that you don’t like The Office. I’m also not someone who’s big into The Office, why are you not a big fan of it?
I don’t like The Office
— Tee Higgins⁵ (@teehiggins5) December 22, 2020
I’m just not a fan of dry humor. Maybe that’s just me, but, I dunno know.
Are you also like me where everyone telling you you need to watch it, you’re like, “OK, you set the bar too high?”
Yeah, yeah. Everybody’s telling me to watch it, and what’s crazy is I’ve been watching it the past week and I actually think it’s kinda funny.