We're taking a brief look at every position this weekend, breaking down the roster at this point in the offseason.
Position Report: Defensive End
Roster (5): Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson, Robert Geathers, Derrick Harvey, Jamaal Anderson
After losing Jonathan Fanene and Frostee Rucker to free agency, Cincinnati responded by signing a couple of low-risk, high-reward former first-round players to fill the depth chart with Derrick Harvey and Jamaal Anderson. Though both have been defined as first-round busts, their role in Cincinnati changes into roll players with something to prove without the high expectations. And if they work out, then the Bengals receive great production at very low cost. If they don't, no harm, no foul.
Regardless Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson and Robert Geathers are projected to take the bulk of the team's snaps, but there's question if Geathers survives cuts due to his salary.
Draft Projection: The Bengals could address defensive end early during the NFL draft, adding a pass rusher opposite of Carlos Dunlap during obvious passing situations. There could be enough durability concerns with Dunlap that the team could find someone to fill in (during injuries) and become an eventual successor to Michael Johnson and Robert Geathers, both of whom are entering the final year under contract. Alabama's Courtney Upshaw keeps surfacing.
Or they could head into the 2012 season with this exact roster (but I doubt it).