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MrCincinnati

90 Man Roster Preview

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This was a very long writeup, you have been warned.

 

Training camp starts this week, so instead of just reviewing the players that will be "expected" to contribute to the team in 2018, I thought why not talk about every single player instead. I separated the players in 3 different categories. Locks, Bubble Watch, and Practice Squad Battle. Locks are pretty self explanatory. Bubble Watch means a player is either fighting to keep a roster spot or has a chance at making the roster. Finally there is the Practice Squad which are for players with probably no chance to make the team, but could make the practice squad instead. Note that I included some of the players as "both" a bubble and practice squad candidate, so if you see a name twice it means they are practice squad eligible (I'm not 100 percent sure these are correct). Also keep in mind there are a handful of undrafted rookies I mentioned that I couldn't find any basic information on, so I didn't necessary talk about every single player on this roster, but I did my best to mention a little bit of information about everyone. And as usual, please offer up which players you feel belong in a different category

 

 

QUARTERBACKS:

 

Locks (2) Andy Dalton, Matt Barkley: It’s no Secret Andy Dalton has been one of the most controversial NFL players in the past decade, as despite helping turn the image of a bad franchise, Dalton still has 0 playoff wins to show for it. Now in his 30’s and 2 years left on his contract, his time with the Bengals could be coming to an end soon. His play declined last season, but that was partially because of having to switch with an new OC early in the season from Zampese to Lazor. Last year with Lazor calling the shots, the Bengals were one the top teams who threw the ball when inside the 5 yard line. Ironically his 97 million contract from 4 years ago has now turned into one of the cheaper deals a starting QB can have. If they can get him back for a good deal, then it still might be worth having him around, but if they have to overpay to keep him, then it might be time to hit the reset button at QB. Matt Barkley was signed this offseason to be the new backup incase Dalton would go down to injury. At first upon signing Barkley, he was not even considered a lock on the roster because he has not thrown a pass since 2016 and TD to INT ratio track record doesn’t favor him. But because of a lack of better options right now on the roster, and him being the only other QB with veteran experience, its safe to say he’s going to make this roster.

 

Bubble Watch (1) Logan Woodside: A 7th round selection this year, Woodside is the all time leader in passing yards and touchdowns for Toledo, as well as earning MAC offensive player of the year last year. Despite his good career numbers, his average arm strength and not playing notable teams was the main reason why he wasn’t going to get drafted very high. Also Woodside was arrested for DUI last month, which won’t help him either. He’s got a shot to make the team though, and even if he doesn’t make the roster, he’s probably going to be on the practice squad instead.

 

Practice Squad Battle (2): Logan Woodside, Jeff Driskel: For the QB’s, this is the only position battle you will see. Driskel who spent last season on the IR will now be in a fight to beat out the rookie Woodside for a chance to be the 3rd QB for this team. Driskel had somewhat a solid preseason last year, but finished in a bad way when he injured his thumb. If Woodside makes the team, I doubt Driskel will be on the practice squad seeing as they don’t need to keep 4 QB’s.

 

RUNNING BACKS:

 

Locks (3) Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard, Mark Walton: I’m not sure how this team plans to utilize Mixon and Bernard here. On one side of the coin you have Joe Mixon who is expected to be the full time feature back and make a big jump this year. Mixon was a disappointment last year because of the OL struggles, but he’s dropped his weight this year and was really effective in the passing game last year. On the other side, you have Giovani Bernard who is mainly used in the passing game as it is, and still has 3 years left on his contract. It's obvious that Mixon will get more snaps going forward, but as long as Bernard is still around I don’t have a clue what the plan is going forward. The Bengals surprisingly drafted themselves another RB in the 4th round this year in Mark Walton, and just like Bernard and Mixon he has a lot to offer in the passing game. His injury last season with Miami as well as a underpar combine performance caused him to fall in the draft, and while some believe he’s going to be buried on the depth chart, others think he could get an opportunity sooner than later if Mixon or Bernard gets hurt.

 

Bubble Watch (1) Quinton Flowers: An undrafted rookie from USF who’s been converted from QB to RB, Flowers holds his school record for TD’s and rushing yards. You can see why he offers more as a RB than QB, considering he had a 53 completion percentage last year. Unfortunately he also had bad numbers at the combine which caused him to go undrafted. The Bengals love giving chances to undrafted RB’s though, so he’s going to have some good odds at not only making the practice squad, but a chance at the roster.

 

Practice Squad Battle (5) Quinton Flowers, Tra Carson, Brian Hill, Jarveon Williams, Ray Lawry: This will be the most competitive battle as far as practice squads go. Even though Flowers will have a good edge, there are 3 to 4 more guys who will be hungry to get on the practice squad as well. Tra Carson an undrafted rookie from 2 years ago, has still yet to play a single nfl snap. His preseason numbers have been nothing special, as he averaged 3.5 per carry last year and 2.4 the year before that, so Carson will have to step it up. Brian Hill a 5th round pick from the Falcons last year was picked up near the end of the season and played in 3 games for the Bengals. So Hill has some experience at least, but really only offers up traits as a powerback. Jarveon Williams an undrafted free agency last year played 1 game with the Bengals but recorded no stats. He was noticed in one preseason game last year when he ran for over 100 yards, so he’s in the mix too. And finally there is undrafted rookie this year Ray Lawry from Old Dominion, who I couldn’t get any information on.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS:

 

Locks (5) AJ Green, Brandon Lafell, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, Josh Malone: As expected the cream of the crop AJ Green will more than likely be having another good year in 2018, which is business as usual for him. His contract expires after 2019, so they still have another year to extend him. Brandon Lafell’s numbers have declined last year, but he’ll mostly likely will open the year as the #2. He is a free agent next year though, so the expectation going forward is that his snaps should reduce in the wake of some of the younger guys at WR. Tyler Boyd is also coming off a disappointing year, as he missed some games due to injury, but was also a healthy scratch in some of the games due to the coaches. It appears that Boyd is going to be the slot receiver going forward and will not challenge for the #2. John Ross will be the most interesting story here, to see if he can stay on the field without getting hurt. Ross has been working very hard this offseason spending time with TJ Houshmanzadeh and he’s stated he hasn’t felt this good since his final year in college, which is a good sign. Ross will have to earn his way up the depth chart as the season progresses. Same could be said about Josh Malone who’s also ready to get more snaps on the field. Malone had 7 starts, but only 247 snaps and will be looking to use his speed to get more action on the field.

 

Bubble Watch (3) Auden Tate, Cody Core, Alex Erickson: This is the first of many position battles you will see, as these 3 players will be battling for potentially the last spot at WR. Auden Tate, a 7th round pick this year from Florida State stands at 6-5 and has a wingspan of 33 inches making him a huge threat at catching the ball. The biggest issue with Tate though is he has a major issue with his speed which makes him a non threat in long pass plays. But Tate has been one of the most impressive players durings OTA’s, as he’s shown a knack for catching the ball in areas no other WR could. Cody Core entering his 3rd season failed to make a single catch last season and is in big danger of being cut this time. Core has shown to have great speed, but will now have to show his worth on special team and a strong preseason to stay on the team. Also entering there 3rd season is Alex Erickson who’s biggest contribution to the team is on kick and punt returns. Erickson is loved by the coaching staff and logged in a few catches last season, but despite 2 full years of experience on special teams he hasn’t shown anything fancy. Erickson has been great in the preseason before and now must do it again.

 

Practice Squad Battle (6) Auden Tate, Cody Core, Alex Erickson, Kermit Whitfield, Ka’Ruan White, Devonte Boyd: While Tate, Core, and Erickson all could look towards the practice squad if none of them make the team, there is some interesting competition here. Kermit Whitfield an undrafted rookie from last year had 5 catches 80 yards last year in the preseason and managed to stay on the practice squad the whole season. Ka’Ruan White went undrafted this year was originally signed by the Seahawks, only to get waived and picked up by the Bengals instead. White had a solid season with West Virginia last year, but subpar numbers at the combine which caused him to go undrafted, so his speed and value on special teams will be something he needs to do. Devonte Boyd an undrafted rookie from UNLV sits at 6-1 and has some burst ability. However his production has declined each year in college, and he’s shown trouble getting separation against CB’s and which will make him a longshot.

 

TIGHT ENDS / FULLBACK:

 

Locks (4) Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft, CJ Uzomah, Ryan Hewitt: One of the few positions on this team that went unchanged in the offseason, despite concerns with the TE’s. Tyler Eifert once a promising young player on the rise has been hit bad with injuries his whole career, and has missed 40 games in the last 4 years. Despite the injuries though, he was dominant in 2015 and was re-signed by the Bengals to a 1 year prove it deal hoping he can get back to what he was 3 years ago. He’s not off to a good start though, seeing as he claimed to be at full health back in March, but was limited in OTA’s, missed minicamp, and may not even be ready for training camp. The Bengals can only hope for the best from Eifert, but it appears to be groundhog day all over again with him. His backup Tyler Kroft is now likely to step in as the starting TE once again, now has a chance to prove himself going into the final year of his contract as well. At first it sounded like the Bengals were going to find an upgrade over Kroft despite having solid numbers last season, but ultimately the team chose not to sign or draft anyone at the TE position. Now it seems Kroft could get a contract extension before the season even starts. CJ Uzomah who just like Kroft is entering the final year of his contract as well, but has less value at his position. At best Uzomah is just a reserve player and mainly does blocking since he only caught 10 passes last year, but still played in 14 games and won’t have to worry about any other guys taking his spot. Also there’s Ryan Hewitt who can play FB, H-B, and TE, but mainly offers himself as a blocker. But if injuries to Eifert or possibly Kroft and Uzomah happen down the road, Hewitt may have be used as a TE.

 

Bubble Watch (1) Cethan Carter: The only other TE with a realistic shot of making the roster is Cethan Carter who was an undrafted player last year. Carter not only made the team last season, but played in all 16 games as a rookie, but didn’t have a single catch. He’s mainly a blocker who maybe offers something as a fullback option, but his odds of making the roster will only happen if an injury occurs.

 

Practice Squad Battle (4): Cethan Carter, Mortiz Bohringer, Mason Schreck, Jordan Franks: Aside from Carter, There are really only 2 other candidates here. Mortiz Bohringer is already a lock on the practice squad because he’s an international player, plus he won’t count against the 10 man practice squad limit. Mason Schreck a 7th round pick from last year had 1 catch in the preseason before eventually being placed on IR. Lastly is undrafted rookie Jordan Franks from UCF, but I could not find any information on him.

 

OFFENSIVE TACKLES:

 

Locks (3) Cordy Glenn, Jake Fisher, Cedric Ogbuehi: Just like last year, the OL is going to be the talk of camp and the pivotal point for this team if they want to make a jump. The Bengals started off strong during the offseason by trading down in the draft in exchange for Bills LT Cordy Glenn who will now anchor the OL. Glenn has been plagued with injuries the past 2 years, missing 17 games, but when Glenn stays healthy he is one of the better LT’s in the game. On the RT side though, there is a opening competition for that starting job. The early favorite right now is Jake Fisher, who has yet to live up to expectations and now enters the last year of his contract. Fisher’s season was cut short last year when he had to get surgery because of an irregular heartbeat, but even before that, he was one of the worst RT’s last year. The same can be said, if not worse about Cedric Ogbuehi who just like Fisher is entering the last year of his contract since the Bengals didn’t pick up his 1st round option. Ogbuehi has been a major flog and unsurprisingly was one worst LT’s last year, but despite all of that I don’t see his roster spot in jeopardy and playing RT will be a more realistic expectation for him to redeem himself.

 

Bubble Watch (2) Bobby Hart, Kent Perkins: Just because a player is fighting for a roster spot, doesn’t mean that player can’t be competing for a starting job in the process. That can be said about former Giants OT Bobby Hart whom the Bengals signed less than a week after the Giants cut him. Hart started several games last year but was just as awful as Fisher and Ogbuehi last season, and the coaching staff claimed he quit on the team. He was also battling an injury though, so now it's redemption time for Hart. Also there’s Kent Perkins, an undrafted free agent from last year whom while I don’t know much about, he played one game last year and could have a chance to make the team since the OL as a whole is the land of opportunity.

 

Practice Squad Battle (4) Kent Perkins, Justin Murray, Javarius Leamon, Austin Fleer: Aside from Perkins, there are 3 more candidates whom will fight for a spot on the practice squad as well. Justin Murray is a former bearcat who went undrafted last year and played with the Broncos in the preseason. Murray was then passed around like a hot potato from the Buccaneers, Saints, and then the Bengals. As for the undrafted free agents this year, there is Javarius Leamon from South Carolina st. Leamon figures to be a work in progress as he has talent but will require another year of fixing up his technique to challenge a roster spot next year. The other undrafted free agent is Austin Fleer from Mesa State, but I couldn’t find any info on him.

 

OFFENSIVE GUARDS:

 

Locks (1) Clint Boling: The only guy here that is a lock for sure is Clint Boling who has now taken the role as the veteran leader of the OL. Boling may of been overlooked last season because of a bad OL, but despite all of that Boling was still very effective and seemed to play even better when temporarily inserted at the LT spot. Despite some thought of maybe making him a full time LT, the Bengals ultimately decided to keep him at his original LG spot.

 

Bubble Watch (4) Trey Hopkins, Christian Westerman, Alex Redmond, Rod Taylor: And just like the RT jig, the RG job is also up for grabs, and has no shortage of candidates. There’s no clear cut favorite right now, but my early pick is Trey Hopkins to start at RG again. Hopkins played in 13 games last year, but was awful for the most part in his 1st full year in the NFL even though he was an undrafted rookie going all the way back to 2014. Christian Westerman might be the best long term option at RG, but has never gotten the chance to prove it. Westerman has shown to have NFL potential in college as he would be much more suited to play in pass protection instead of run blocking. Westerman is undersized though, and only playing 2 games in his career hasn’t helped him, but with a new OL coaching, he may now get some more playing time. Alex Redmond who just like Westerman is considered to be undersized but also lacks strength and could get pushed around easy. Redmond did play 5 games last year though and has shown a good job blocking space though, so he’s got a chance to start as well. Finally the wildcard is this years 7th round pick Rod Taylor, who’s got a golden opportunity to be fighting for the starting RG job as well as the RT job. Taylor played 3 differents positions in 3 years with Ole Miss, being RG, LT, and RT, and has the right look for a NFL Lineman. Taylor’s best bet is to be a starting OG, but he could end up being a swing tackle right off the bat as well, so even if Taylor doesn’t make this roster, he seems to be a shoe in to make the practice squad unless he flops hard in the preseason.

 

Practice Squad Battle (3) Christian Westerman, Alex Redmond, Rod Taylor: I’ve already discussed all of these guys in the previous paragraph, but this is just to remind you guys on who is eligible for the practice squad.

 

CENTERS:

 

Locks (1) Billy Price: First round pick Billy Price is going to be starting in week 1, and is expected to be a early contributor to fixing this OL. Price mainly played as an OG for Ohio State, but when he was moved to C his senior year he really made a name for himself. Had he not gotten injured during the combine, Price was more than likely going to be drafted higher in the draft at some point and while some teams didn’t think he was a 1st round pick, the Bengals took a chance on him. Price has been way ahead of schedule on his injury and will even be ready at the start of training camp.

 

Bubble Watch (1) TJ Johnson: Maybe some people consider him a lock, but TJ Johnson who is now playing on the last year of his contract will have to show he still belongs on this roster. Johnson has been a reserve player for the Bengals for 5 years now, and he somehow continues to find a way to keep hanging around. While he did play in 13 games last year, he didn’t show anything promising and reminded us why he is just a reserve player, so while he has experience on his size, maybe it's time to look at other options.

 

Practice Squad Battle (1): Brad Lundblade: The only qualified center to be on the practice squad is undrafted rookie Brad Lundblade from Oklahoma State. Lundblade has shown to have the ability to hold up well against someone who’s bigger than him when pass blocking, but his run blocking needs lots of work so he’s going to have some work cut out for him.

 

DEFENSIVE ENDS:

 

Locks (4) Carlos Dunlap, Jordan Willis, Michael Johnson, Sam Hubbard: The DL as a whole is the deepest position on this roster, and for the DE’s its lead by Carlos Dunlap. Dunlap has been nothing short of consistent having at least 7 sacks every season he’s played minus 2011, and he’s not missed a start since 2012. Dunlap is in the last year of his contract and he did skip OTA’s in the wake of wanting a new deal, so who knows if he will holdout during camp. Expected to start at RE opposite of Dunlap will be Jordan Willis, who played 360 snaps last year. While Wills only recorded 1 sacks, he was extremely effective in the run game and is expected to make a bigger impact this season. Willis is most likely going to leapfrog Michael Johnson who’s entering the last year of his contract as well. Johnson has been a solid piece to the defense but could never return to his 2012 form and despite some will think he could be cut, I just don’t see it. And then there's 3rd round pick from Ohio State Sam Hubbard who is expected to be another early contributor despite how heavy this position is. Hubbard had the highest wonderlic score among all DE’s during the draft and Marvin Lewis said he will be used in sub packages. I didn’t mention Carl Lawson here since I put him with the LB’s, but I don’t have a clue where he will be playing.

 

Bubble Watch: N/A

 

Practice Squad Battle (2): Ja’von Rolland Jones, Gaelin Elmore: Both players here are undrafted rookies and the favorite for a practice squad spot is Ja’von Rolland Jones. Jones played for Arkansas State whom had double digit sacks every year there, and holds the sun belt conference record for career sacks. Of course him playing bad teams and a lack of speed will be his biggest, but he’s a pass rusher and will have a good shot at making this practice squad. The other rookie is Gaelin Elmore from East Carolina, unfortunately I could not find any information on him.

 

DEFENSIVE TACKLES:

 

Locks (2) Geno Atkins, Ryan Glasgow: Leading the way for the DT is Geno Atkins, arguably the leader/best player on this defense. Just like Dunlap, Atkins has been consistent in every year with the Bengals minus one year, and hasn’t missed a start since 2013. Atkins is also in the last year of his contract, but it might be much harder this time to get him a new deal. The only other guy I see a lock at DT, but by no means is going to start at NT is Ryan Glasgow. Glasgow was a rotation player last season, playing in all 16 games as a rookie and has shown to be a good run stuffer. Maybe he has a chance to start next to Atkins, but my guess is he will still be behind someone else.

 

Bubble Watch (3) Chris Baker, Andrew Billings, Andrew Brown: Right now there doesn’t appear to be a decision on who starts at NT, but the favorite is going to be free agency signing Chris Baker. Baker signed with the Buccaneers to a 3 year deal last year but was cut after the 1st year when he only had a .5 sack and his work ethic wasn’t great. It was no surprise the Bengals wanted Chris Baker as they shown interested in him last year as well. They signed him to a 1 year prove it deal, but even he’s not a lock to make the roster. Andrew Billings will be competing with Baker to hold on to his starting job, but he’s also not a lock. Billings considered the steal of the draft from 2 years ago, finally had his first year of playing time last season. However he was disappointing for the most part and failed to get a single sack. 5th round pick Andrew Brown will seem like a lock at first glance, however any type of draft pick that is picked between the 5th-7th round is never a lock, as we saw last year with Jake Elliott. Brown has been regarded to having a non stop motor and having most of his experience as a DE with Virginia, but he will have to find a way to fit in as a DT instead. He has to work on his explosiveness, but if he gets cut there’s a good chance he may get picked up by another team instead.

 

Practice Squad Battle (4) Andrew Billings, Andrew Brown, Josh Tupoh, Chris Okoye: As aside from Billings and Brown, two other guys here are more likely to get on the practice squad. Josh Tupoh was an undrafted free agent last year for the Bengals and only played in 1 game in the regular season. Unfortunately Tupoh already has an uphill battle on and off the field, as he got himself in trouble in february for violating his probation for an incident in the past and now has a lot to prove to the coaches. And there’s undrafted rookie Chris Okoye from Ferris State, whom I couldn’t find any info on.

 

LINEBACKERS:

 

Locks (7) Vontaze Burfict, Preston Brown, Nick Vigil, Carl Lawson, Vincent Rey, Jordan Evans, Malik Jefferson: Despite this being a position that’s always bogged down this team in the past, just like the TE’s it seems like the Bengals have this area decided. They will only carry 6 LB’s to start out with though, because shockingly Vontaze Burfict got himself suspended again. There’s no question that Burfict is a tremendous difference maker when he’s on the field, but sometimes it’s for all the wrong reasons. This will be his 3rd year in a row that he will start the season suspended, but at least this time it wasn’t because of a dirty hit. Sadly despite all the talent he has, he hasn’t played a full season since 2013, so the next man to step up is free agency signing Preston Brown. Brown whom played for the Bills was signed to a 1 year prove it deal, and this might be the best free agency move by the Bengals. He is the definition of someone who will show up to work everyday as Brown has never missed an NFL game in his 4 year career, recorded over 100 tackles every season, and had the 2nd most snaps among LB’s last year. He will add much needed help to a team that has a history of trouble tackling, and it makes you wonder why he was never signed to a bigger contract by another team. As for the other two LB starting jobs, it doesn’t sound like they will be up for grabs, so one of the spots will go to Nick Vigil. Despite being loved by the coaches, Vigil was regarded as the worst (if not one of the worst) OLB in the NFL by PFF. While PFF could sometimes be misleading since Vigil logged in lots of snaps, I’m not holding my breath on this one. Same could be said about Vincent Rey the veteran of the LB group, but mostly just a reserve player. Rey has never been able to hold onto a starting job because like Vigil he never receives good grades by PFF, but he will be getting his opportunity to start some games with Burfict out. The wildcard here is Carl Lawson whom I have no clue if he’s going to start at DE or LB. Because the LB position has struggled in the past several years, putting Lawson here would seem like a no brainer. On the other hand, Lawson fits better as a DE in the 4-3, but with guys like Willis and Hubbard looking to eat up snaps as well, it's a complicated situation. Regardless of what position he will play, Lawson will be getting a lot of snaps and should build off his strong rookie year of 8.5 sacks. Most people would consider a 6th round pick heading into his 2nd year as someone whos not a lock, but Jordan Evans doesn’t appear to be in that situation. He played all but 1 game last year as a rookie, and while he didn’t look spectacular he offers some interesting assets as a LB. Due to the fact Evans offers something in pass coverage, I can’t see him going anywhere. Then there’s 3rd round from Texas Malik Jefferson who was the Big 12 defensive player of the year. Jefferson has speed, but missed alot of tackles in college which is a big no no for the Bengals, so he’s not going to see the field anytime soon until he gets that figured out.

 

Bubble Watch (1) Hardy Nickerson: Hardy Nickerson Jr is the only one with a realistic shot at making the team, who is not be mistaken with his dad. An undrafted free agent last year Nickerson played 14 games with a total of 17 tackles, so for him to make the team it will be because of an injury and a having strong preseason.

 

Practice Squad Battle (4) Hardy Nickerson, Brandon Bell, Chris Worley, Junior Joseph: Aside from Nickerson, Brandon Bell another free agent last season will be trying to make the squad again. Bell made the practice squad last season, play 3 games regular season with the Bengals, and even had 7 tackles in one of those games. As for the undrafted rookies, the notable guy is Chris Worley from Ohio State. Worley played all 3 LB’s positions and offers experience on special teams which is what he needs to do make the team. However he only made 24 starts, and doesn’t have the NFL speed for what teams will look for. The other guy is Junior Joseph from Connecticut, whom I couldn’t find any info on.

 

CORNERBACKS:

 

Locks (3) William Jackson, Dre Kirkpatrick, Darqueze Dennard: The players listed here are no brainers. William Jackson missed his entire rookie year, but was easily the Bengals biggest breakout player last season and was regarded to be one of the best CB’s by PFF. If Jackson keeps playing this up, he’s going to be the next Revis Island. Dre Kirkpatrick didn’t fare as well last season after he got a big 5 year 50 million dollar contract. Part of the reason was Kirkpatrick being banged up all season even though he only missed 2 games, but he has to rebound. The 3rd wheel and expected nickel is Darqueze Dennard, who is entering a big contract year. Dennard had his best year last season so far, playing in all 16 games and logged in 85 tackles, so next year he could to get a big payday in the offseason.

 

Bubble Watch (5) Josh Shaw, Davontae Harris, Darius Phillips, Kevarie Russell, Tony McRae: Lots of players will make this battle very interesting, but you could argue that some of these guys are already locks on the team. Josh Shaw has only missed one game with the Bengals, and is entering a contract year. Despite that, he’s a depth player at best and because of some of the new draft picks this year, I think his spot could be in jeopardy. The Bengals drafted 2 CB’s in the 5th round this year, one of then being Davontae Harris from Illinois State. Harris showed some good speed at the combine and appears to offer more in zone as opposed to man coverage. Because of this, he may be moved to S down the road, sort of like the same career path as Josh Shaw. The other guy is Darius Phillips from Western Michigan, whos going to offer more on special teams instead of defense. Phillips was converted from WR to CB in college, and had 5 career pick sixes, which is tied for a division 1 record. His biggest asset kick and punt returns, as he also had 6 tds in his career on special teams, which will make him a heavy favorite to beat out Alex Erickson. 3rd round pick Kevarie Russell from 2 years ago by the Chiefs was cut his rookie year and picked up immediately by the Bengals. Despite being a good prospect, Russell hasn’t had much playing time the past 2 years and his time is almost up in the wake of some new draft picks. The longshot is Tony McRae who at first glance appears to have no shot, but his NFL experience will keep him in the conversation. An undrafted free agent in 2016, McRae signed with the Bengals 2016 and was cut last year after the preseason. The Ravens signed him in which he played 5 games and then was cut, but reunited with the Bengals and played in 4 more games, which brings him to 9 games last season,.

 

Practice Squad Battle (5) Darius Phillips, Davontae Harris, Kevarie Russell, Tony McRae, Sojourn Shelton: Aside from all the other players I mentioned, the only guy left here is Sojourn Shelton. Shelton an undrafted free agent who signed with the Cardinals last year, but was cut at the end of the preseason. He then signed to the Bengals practice squad, and now will hope to repeat that again this year.

 

SAFETIES:

 

Locks (4) George Iloka, Shawn Williams, Jessie Bates, Clayton Fejedelem: Some change could be on the horizon here, but not likely into week 1. George Iloka has been a starter since 2013, having not missed a start since 2015, and is regarded as a hard hitting safety. Next to him is Shawn Williams who is looking to rebound after a somewhat subpar season in 2017. Williams suffered some bad luck after dislocating his shoulder in the preseason and it appeared he was going to miss the entire season. Miraculously he was able to return by week 2 and only missed 5 games last season, and while he’s better in coverage than Iloka, he and Iloka now have to look over their shoulders because of a new contender. That new contender is 2nd round pick from Wake Forest Jessie Bates who has pro bowl potential according to scouts. While its safe to say Bates is not going be starting in week 1, the Bengals will look to give him playing time as a S and even as a nickel. Clayton Fejedelem who was the main backup S last year. isn’t going to get cut from what I understand. Fejedelem is more than likely now going to have to go back to special teams instead of the defense.

 

Bubble Watch (1) Brandon Wilson: The only guy that could be fighting for a roster spot is Brandon Wilson who just like Darius Phillips, will have to prove himself on special teams instead. Wilson was moved from CB to S as a rookie to try and make the team, but an injury last season caused him to only play in 8 games. He’s got speed, but will need to show something on kick and punt returns.

 

Practice Squad Battle (3) Brandon Wilson, Trayvon Henderson, Tyrice Beverette: And aside from Wilson, the two guys here are undrafted rookies who will have a chance to show something, and the most likely of the two is Trayvon Henderson from Hawaii. Henderson has trouble tackling, but when he does tackle he is a hard hitting safety. His speed is a big issue though, but some teams had him as a 5th and 6th round grade. Lastly is Tyrice Beverette from Stony Brook, who I couldn’t find any info on.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS:

 

Locks (3) Randy Bullock, Kevin Huber, Clark Harris: No changes here which isn’t a surprise. Randy Bullock in his second year with the team despite missing 2 extra points last year, was 18 for 20 on field goals.. Kevin Huber the longtime Bengal was resigned to a 3 year deal, and is still one the better P’s in the NFL. Clark Harris has been the long snapper for the Bengals since 2009 and has been one of the best in the NFL, but he’s a free agent next year.

 

Bubble Watch: N/A


Practice Squad Battle (1): Johnathan Brown: An undrafted free agent from 2016, we have yet to even see Brown kick in the preseason.

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Awesome write up dude. I’m looking forward to a lot of these battles. I’m really hoping to see someone from the corner and receiver group step up. 

 

My early prediction for surprise contributors is going to be Darius Phillips and Auden Tate

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I would argue that Alex Erickson is more of a lock than Malone at this point.  But barring injury Malone, Erickson, and Auden Tate will be battling for those final positions...

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Erickson’s spot hinges on whether someone else impresses at KR/PR. I think the team added multiple guys who can return so he is not a lock. Malone leads the group of young receivers as the #5 candidate 

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Excellent write up.  These are the type of in depth things I write in my head while chewing up miles trying to return to running, but I'm too lazy to actually sit down and type it out.  

I know that the site wants more topic posts, but our subforum seems to respond best by keeping things in one place, so I'll keep it here.  Not trying to hijack yours.

Offense: 24  More talented depth on the defensive side, plus versatile players to fill gaps

QB (2)-  Dalton is a lock.  I hope it is an open competiton for the backup spot and I want Woodside to win it, but Driskel or Barkley will.  Deep down, I feel like Woodside ends up in court appointed classes afetr his recent DUI and starts on PUP.  Similar to McCarron.

RB (r4):  I think they go four, with Mixon, Bernard and Walton locks, and Hill not far behind. Flowers to the PS

TE (3):  My first shocker is we only go three, including a h-back.  So both Tylers are locks, and if the team wants a FB, Hewitt makes it.  If not, CJ Uzomah makes it.  More on why in the WR department.

WR(6):  Green, Ross, Boyd are total locks.  Malone is right there.  LaFell has to show he still offers more than the youngsters, and he sticks as long as he does.  if they all surpass him, then his time here is done.  I think Tate makes it for his size and catch radius, which in essence, means he's playing what Uzomah does, without any blocking.  Erickson is the guy who muddies things.  I think we have about five more explosive guys that him (Phillips, Walton, Bates, Wilson, and Ross in the old Adam Jones role of taking them when we absolutely need a huge return).  But I also think he's decent in the slot.  If noone beats him out as a returner, he obviously sticks.  But after all those fumbles last year (we recovered all but one, I think), anyone with more explosion should be able to overtake him.  We might even have a few guys listed as PR or KR specifically, negating the need to keep Erickson as both,  In the end, I think we trade either LaFell or Erickson for a late pick and we keep 6.

OT (4):  Glenn is a lock.  Fisher should be.  Ogbuehi, Hart and Perkins for the last two spots.

OG (4) Boling is a lock.  Westerman probably is.  If Hopkins loses out on the RG battle, he backs up both center and OG, so we bid adieu to TJ Johnson.  Last spot probably goes to Redmond.  

C (1):  Price is a lock.  Hopkins or TJ JOhnson is the backup.  I'm all in on Hopkins, even if he starts at RG, because I think he's far better than Johnson, who was equally as horrid as many ther of our linemen last year (Cedric, Fisher, Bodine, Hopkins, Hart with the NYG)

 

Defense: 26  you keep more talented players, regardless of positions, for the last few spots.

DE (4):  Dunlap, Willis, Lawson and Hubbard are locks.  They may call Lawson a LB, but all that does is shuffle the number they keep at each position.  He's rushing the passer.  I call that an End.  

Hybrid DE/DT (1)  Johnson   He may be declining, but he still is a leader on and off of the field.

DT (4):  Personally I think Atkins and Billings are locks.  If Baker returns to his Redskins form, he is too.  If he doesn't, he goes, and it gets down to Brown vs. Glascow.  I've said enough in the past about UVA playing Brown out of position, and if left to be a 3T he will shine (see Senior Bowl tape, especially drills).  To me, Glascow is a lunchpail type of guy, but nothing special.  If Baker shines, he beats out Glascow, who ends up injured, on the PS, or claimed after cuts by another team.  Topou to the practice squad

LB (6):  The locks are Burfict (after week 4), Brown, Jefferson, Vigil, Rey and probably Evans.  Worley battles Nickerspn and eventually Bell (who's on NFI right now) for the spot that eventually becomes Burfict's.  If Worley or Nickerson show enough, they might opt to keep the winner long term over Rey, who is on the last year of his deal

CB (6)  Locks are obviously Jackson, WhoDre and Dennard.  I hope Phillips flashes on returns, so there is four.  Harris is a new drfat pick, and the team rarely cuts them.  He probably is inactive on gamedays, I I don't care what position they play if they are inactive.  You keep the best talent.  The last spot gets down to Russell's potential vs. Shaw's versatility.  At the moment, I keep Shaw, but the loser here might net a 6th round pick next year.

Safety (5):  The top three are Iloka, Williams and Bates.  Feg contributes on coverage teams, Wilson offers the versatility to return kicks, play CB and safety, and even RB in a pinch.  The 7th WR spot from last year just became a DB this year.  Wilson could also displace Shaw and open up another spot somewhere else on the roster.

 

Specialists:

P: Huber 

K: Bullock

LS  Harris

 

Practice Squad

Woodside  QB

Rod Taylor OG

Brad Lundblade OC

Flowers RB/Slot WR/QB/Returner

Kermit Whitfield WR

Topou DT

Ja’von Rolland Jones  DE

Nickerson/Worley loser  LB

Brandon Bell  LB

??????

International exemption  Miritz Boeringer

With extra DBs on the roster, they can go for other positions on the practice squad

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I'm supposed to be working on a presentation for work.  Now it's going to be about the Bengal's roster.

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On 7/23/2018 at 10:57 AM, johndeere1707 said:

Awesome write up dude. I’m looking forward to a lot of these battles. I’m really hoping to see someone from the corner and receiver group step up. 

 

My early prediction for surprise contributors is going to be Darius Phillips and Auden Tate

Thanks.

Phillips could make a difference very early if he's as good as advertised. Tate not so much unless injuries start to happen to the guys ahead of him.

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21 hours ago, TheVillain112 said:

I would argue that Alex Erickson is more of a lock than Malone at this point.  But barring injury Malone, Erickson, and Auden Tate will be battling for those final positions...

Malone is a sure lock IMO simply because its very uncharacteristic for the bengals to cut a 2nd year player who was drafted in the 4th round. Last time they cut a 4th round after 1 year was Jonathan lugis.

Just like johndeer said, erickson could be expendable since he's used on special teams. And I would not count out cody core just yet as I would argue he offers more than Erickson when it comes to the offense.

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16 hours ago, INbengalfan said:

Excellent write up.  These are the type of in depth things I write in my head while chewing up miles trying to return to running, but I'm too lazy to actually sit down and type it out.  

I know that the site wants more topic posts, but our subforum seems to respond best by keeping things in one place, so I'll keep it here.  Not trying to hijack yours.

Offense: 24  More talented depth on the defensive side, plus versatile players to fill gaps

QB (2)-  Dalton is a lock.  I hope it is an open competiton for the backup spot and I want Woodside to win it, but Driskel or Barkley will.  Deep down, I feel like Woodside ends up in court appointed classes afetr his recent DUI and starts on PUP.  Similar to McCarron.

RB (r4):  I think they go four, with Mixon, Bernard and Walton locks, and Hill not far behind. Flowers to the PS

TE (3):  My first shocker is we only go three, including a h-back.  So both Tylers are locks, and if the team wants a FB, Hewitt makes it.  If not, CJ Uzomah makes it.  More on why in the WR department.

WR(6):  Green, Ross, Boyd are total locks.  Malone is right there.  LaFell has to show he still offers more than the youngsters, and he sticks as long as he does.  if they all surpass him, then his time here is done.  I think Tate makes it for his size and catch radius, which in essence, means he's playing what Uzomah does, without any blocking.  Erickson is the guy who muddies things.  I think we have about five more explosive guys that him (Phillips, Walton, Bates, Wilson, and Ross in the old Adam Jones role of taking them when we absolutely need a huge return).  But I also think he's decent in the slot.  If noone beats him out as a returner, he obviously sticks.  But after all those fumbles last year (we recovered all but one, I think), anyone with more explosion should be able to overtake him.  We might even have a few guys listed as PR or KR specifically, negating the need to keep Erickson as both,  In the end, I think we trade either LaFell or Erickson for a late pick and we keep 6.

OT (4):  Glenn is a lock.  Fisher should be.  Ogbuehi, Hart and Perkins for the last two spots.

OG (4) Boling is a lock.  Westerman probably is.  If Hopkins loses out on the RG battle, he backs up both center and OG, so we bid adieu to TJ Johnson.  Last spot probably goes to Redmond.  

C (1):  Price is a lock.  Hopkins or TJ JOhnson is the backup.  I'm all in on Hopkins, even if he starts at RG, because I think he's far better than Johnson, who was equally as horrid as many ther of our linemen last year (Cedric, Fisher, Bodine, Hopkins, Hart with the NYG)

 

Defense: 26  you keep more talented players, regardless of positions, for the last few spots.

DE (4):  Dunlap, Willis, Lawson and Hubbard are locks.  They may call Lawson a LB, but all that does is shuffle the number they keep at each position.  He's rushing the passer.  I call that an End.  

Hybrid DE/DT (1)  Johnson   He may be declining, but he still is a leader on and off of the field.

DT (4):  Personally I think Atkins and Billings are locks.  If Baker returns to his Redskins form, he is too.  If he doesn't, he goes, and it gets down to Brown vs. Glascow.  I've said enough in the past about UVA playing Brown out of position, and if left to be a 3T he will shine (see Senior Bowl tape, especially drills).  To me, Glascow is a lunchpail type of guy, but nothing special.  If Baker shines, he beats out Glascow, who ends up injured, on the PS, or claimed after cuts by another team.  Topou to the practice squad

LB (6):  The locks are Burfict (after week 4), Brown, Jefferson, Vigil, Rey and probably Evans.  Worley battles Nickerspn and eventually Bell (who's on NFI right now) for the spot that eventually becomes Burfict's.  If Worley or Nickerson show enough, they might opt to keep the winner long term over Rey, who is on the last year of his deal

CB (6)  Locks are obviously Jackson, WhoDre and Dennard.  I hope Phillips flashes on returns, so there is four.  Harris is a new drfat pick, and the team rarely cuts them.  He probably is inactive on gamedays, I I don't care what position they play if they are inactive.  You keep the best talent.  The last spot gets down to Russell's potential vs. Shaw's versatility.  At the moment, I keep Shaw, but the loser here might net a 6th round pick next year.

Safety (5):  The top three are Iloka, Williams and Bates.  Feg contributes on coverage teams, Wilson offers the versatility to return kicks, play CB and safety, and even RB in a pinch.  The 7th WR spot from last year just became a DB this year.  Wilson could also displace Shaw and open up another spot somewhere else on the roster.

 

Specialists:

P: Huber 

K: Bullock

LS  Harris

 

Practice Squad

Woodside  QB

Rod Taylor OG

Brad Lundblade OC

Flowers RB/Slot WR/QB/Returner

Kermit Whitfield WR

Topou DT

Ja’von Rolland Jones  DE

Nickerson/Worley loser  LB

Brandon Bell  LB

??????

International exemption  Miritz Boeringer

With extra DBs on the roster, they can go for other positions on the practice squad

It doesn't bother me at all, I welcome it. Besides I've barely posted on here the last 8 months. I saw your post on cincyjungle as well. Lol

I'll reply to this later, since I'm ar work.

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13 hours ago, Beck Bristow said:

I'm supposed to be working on a presentation for work.  Now it's going to be about the Bengal's roster.

You have my permission to use mine if you want, of course your predictions are probably different from mine. I would take the time to proof read this before submitting this to your co workers though, because my grammar sucks. Lol

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17 minutes ago, MrCincinnati said:

It doesn't bother me at all, I welcome it. Besides I've barely posted on here the last 8 months. I saw your post on cincyjungle as well. Lol

I'll reply to this later, since I'm ar work.

I always supsepected thast you were LB3PTMAN in the jungle.

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Posted (edited)

@INbengalfan

Sorry to disapoint you, but I don't have an account for cincyjungle. I'm just an avid reader. Plus I'm not a fan of joining any forum that doesn't automatically display a profile pic when you post a comment.

Edited by MrCincinnati

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On 7/23/2018 at 3:34 PM, TheVillain112 said:

I would argue that Alex Erickson is more of a lock than Malone at this point.  But barring injury Malone, Erickson, and Auden Tate will be battling for those final positions...

I would be shocked if they cut Malone and kept Lafell.  Malone showed well last year, and should make the team.

@MrCincinnati - nice writeup.  Read through the first part of the offense.  I'll have to come back for the rest later.

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31 minutes ago, theJ said:

I would be shocked if they cut Malone and kept Lafell.  Malone showed well last year, and should make the team.

@MrCincinnati - nice writeup.  Read through the first part of the offense.  I'll have to come back for the rest later.

I'm never shocked that the Bengals would keep a meh veteran over a younger player with potential.  We just cut Jake Elliott last season...

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8 minutes ago, TheVillain112 said:

I'm never shocked that the Bengals would keep a meh veteran over a younger player with potential.  We just cut Jake Elliott last season...

Well, TBF there, Elliott had no NFL tape at the time.  And Bullock was much better in the preseason.  He also outplayed him during the regular season.  The highlight reel for Elliott looks good, but he missed a bunch of short ones and some XP's.  IIRC he cost the Eagles a game because of his misses, and there was some talk about whether he would retained this year.  Bullock basically missed two XP's and one FG (another FG blocked).

Plus, you have to consider the contacts in play here.  Malone is locked up through 2020 cheap, Lafell is only under contract through this year.

In the end i think they'll both make it and Erickson will miss the cut.  But i would consider Malone a lock.

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