Now that the 53-man roster is set and the roster cuts are completed, the Bengals have three tasks remaining. Scouting for new talent on waivers, signing said talent, and then building their practice squad roster. None of that is in any particular order, but the Cincinnati Bengals will applying signatures to contracts to form their eight-man practice squad.
And the pool is pretty impressive.
Of the 18 players the Bengals put on waivers Saturday, 16 are eligible for the practice squad. That doesn't mean only these players can sign -- the Bengals could easily sign eight players that were waived from different teams (and we expect that to happen with at least one player). We take a look at each player; and go ahead and assume that we're saying "if he clears waivers" on everyone.
Daniel Herron, RB: As we've pointed out, Herron had a good preseason but he was edged out by sixth-round rookie Rex Burkhead. This is the second time in as many years that Herron was waived during final cuts.
Cobi Hamilton, WR: Had his ups and downs, generating 68 yards receiving, tied for the team-lead with seven receptions. However, he lost a fumble and had a case of the dropsies during training camp. Nice prospect though that could develop into something.
J.K. Schaffer, LB: For the second time in as many years, Schaffer led his team in tackles but ended up getting the NFL pink slip anyway. If he clears waivers, there's a good chance he'll sign on the practice squad.
Dontay Moch, DE: Generated a team-high three quarterback sacks this preseason season, following up a team-high 3.5 quarterback sacks last preseason. The team tried dangling Moch via trade, but nothing came of it.
Reid Fragel, OT: Spent most of the preseason injured, so he didn't have many opportunities to show off. Another knee injury against the Colts probably secured him through waivers.
Shaun Prater, CB: Another victim of injury from last year, with time missed this year but overall didn't drive that impact that was hoped. But again, it's a case of missed opportunities.
Chris Lewis-Harris, CB: The first cornerback if the Bengals had gone with six, but unfortunately the Bengals kept five. Won't ever be confused as a first-string cornerback but he's played well enough to keep earning those opportunities.
Onterio McCalebb, CB: Cincinnati wants to develop the athletically gifted McCalebb. There wasn't much expectation that he'd earn a spot on the 53-man roster. Asking him go from running back to cornerback in that short of time was a bit much, but once (if) he clears waivers, he'll have time to develop.
Terrence Stephens, DT: He'll come back. Cincinnati would like to have a defensive tackle available if someone suffers an injury on the 53-man roster and Stephens is kind of a cool dude. Sorry, my standards aren't particularly high.
Tony Dye, S: Not seeing much of a future for Dye in Cincinnati, not even on the practice squad. It's not that I believe he's particularly good or bad, we just didn't see much of him during the preseason (23 snaps on defense) and that's the point.
T.J. Johnson, C: Struggled with run blocks during the preseason, but showed something in pass protection. Worth developing, but who knows. Even if the Bengals suffer an injury at center, they'll probably better options available in free agency. Jeff Faine. On second thought...
Bruce Taylor, LB: Maybe, if Schaffer doesn't return -- and the only way Schaffer doesn't return is if he gets picked up by another team through waivers.
Roy Roundtree, WR: The next position battle is probably which wide receiver signs with the team's practice squad. Roundtree or Taveon Rogers.
Taveon Rogers, WR: Rogers' snap count was similar to Roundtree's during the preseason but their opportunities were extremely limited -- each were targeted three times.
John Sullen, OT: In 48 pass blocks this preseason, Sullen only allowed two quarterback hurries. Not much of a run blocker yet. Maybe a develop project?
Bryce Davis, LS/TE: Actually, I could see the Bengals signing Davis to the practice squad, where he signed twice last year.