Five players to go to complete our 53-man roster prediction, filling spots on the roster at linebacker and the secondary. Cincinnati has traditionally taken six linebackers in three of the previous five seasons. Much like they did in 2010, we're going to take seven. From a historical perspective the Bengals kept ten players in the secondary three times in the past five years; nine in 2010 and 11 in 2007. We're sticking with trends and keeping ten.
#49: Dontay Moch (OLB): The Bengals won't be able to put Moch on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List, even though he could miss the first four games of the season with a broken foot. There's really nothing they can do with the rookie pass-rushing specialist other than waste a roster spot until his return.
#50: Vincent Rey (OLB): Therefore the Bengals will be forced to keep a seventh linebacker on the roster to compensate. Rey was a bubble player before the season started, but we had him leaning as a lock due to his special teams contributions. Thanks to injuries with Keith Rivers, Roddrick Muckelroy and Moch, Rey makes the squad.
#51: Taylor Mays (S): Aside from a 44-yard pass interference penalty early in the game that eventually resulted with a Colts field goal, Mays showed an impact especially against the run in his first significant preseason showing with the Bengals. Cincinnati is very thin at safety in terms of experience, so you have to assume that the team will build the position based on potential with a pinch of expectations.
#52: Rico Murray (CB): Along with being a special teams ace, Murray has the type of versatility that the Bengals love, able to play any position in the secondary.
#53: Jonathan Wade (CB): This one is a stretch (we know it). We elected to go with Wade over Jason Shirley due to the difference between the team's secondary and defensive lines, debating between Wade and Jason Shirley. The argument that worked is that the Bengals appear much thinner in the secondary with players (Adam Jones, Morgan Trent) suffering significant injuries last year, along with Kelly Jennings' hamstring that may keep him out for the regular season opener against the Cleveland Browns. And can you think of a better player that Jones would replace when he does return?
Fully aware that we only have three defensive tackles locked into our roster, Jonathan Fanene and Frostee Rucker are able (and will) to move inside.
Plus Wade picked off two passes in my first game of Madden 12, so it's obviously a sign.
We should also point out that we almost named Gibril Wilson, but we just haven't seen enough of him -- though he played well in the preseason finale.