By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Seven wide receivers and two tight ends worked with quarterback Carson Palmer on pass routes at Paul Brown Stadium Wednesday.
Among them was wide receiver Kelley Washington, who is looking for a more productive second season.
Washington's spirit was buoyed by the Bengals' decision not to draft a wide receiver before the fifth round.
"I think they are comfortable with what they have here," Washington said. "They have a mix of receivers here who can do a lot of things. We have a foundation, and I feel our receiving corps is one of the best in the league. Every year everybody has to get better."
Washington, as a rookie, had 22 receptions for 299 yards and four touchdowns.
"I want to do more with catches, more in the red zone to help the team more," he said. "I want to be able to create more mismatches in the secondary."
So far, Washington said: "Palmer has been sharp throwing the ball. He has been out there. He has been in the weight room. It shows us he wants to take the team over, and we have to be out there with him on a consistent basis."
LAND OF OPPORTUNITY: Coach Marvin Lewis looks forward to good showings from the 18 undrafted rookie free agents signed Tuesday to two-year contracts.
"These players recognize the opportunity that exists here," Lewis said Wednesday. "We're excited about that group of guys."
He is especially high on punter Kyle Larson of Nebraska, linebacker Larry Stevens of Michigan, fullback Alex Wade of Duke and a trio of receivers, including Lance Young of Iowa State.
FEELING A DRAFT: Three days after the final pick, Lewis said he still felt "great" about the draft.
"The amount of athleticism we were able to upgrade ourselves with ... I think when we're playing in Weeks 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, we'll see the difference with these guys," Lewis said.
He also expects greater competition for roster spots.
"It will upgrade us on special teams and offense and defense," he said. "We'll get a chance to train some high-energy guys from the ground up."
MEL SAYS: ESPN's Mel Kiper gave the Bengals' draft an A.
"I was a little critical of their selection of Chris Perry, but the Bengals will get a nice second option to go behind Rudi Johnson," Kiper wrote on ESPN.com.
"Keiwan Ratliff is a big-play corner, while Madieu Williams made sense at the safety spot. Caleb Miller is a productive linebacker, while (defensive tackle) Matthias Askew made some things happen at Michigan State and could be a force with some experience and coaching.
"Stacy Andrews is a project at tackle and could pay dividends in two years. Maurice Mann is an under-rated wide receiver, and Greg Brooks could develop into a nice nickel back.
"I like what Marvin Lewis did to help his defense."
REAL ESTATE: Cornerback Deltha O'Neal has inherited the Paul Brown Stadium locker formerly occupied by Corey Dillon.
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