FanPost

Roster analysis: wide receiver and linebacker

Of all the position groups, the two that seem least likely to be affected by the draft are wide receiver and linebacker. Barring a great BPA pick (for example, a projected high-rounder falling to the late rounds for no apparent reason, such as Marvin Jones in 2012), the wide receivers and linebackers who will make the roster come September are all currently on the team.

Dalton will probably not cave in the next couple weeks before the draft to a team-friendly, perhaps take-it-or-leave-it deal that Mike Brown is probably currently offering. Even if he does, Campbell is only on a one-year deal. Someone could be taken in the draft as a potential 2015 starter or long-term backup, and be kept on the 2014 roster as a third QB.

It’s clear that the position group losing a roster spot for that QB would be wide receiver. Keeping seven WR was too many, with the team frequently using tight ends and Bernard as receivers, not to mention there should be more of a running game this year. 6 WR would be better, and 5 might be even more ideal to allow a spot for a more necessary position. If we keep 6, that probably means 26 offensive players on the roster (3 QB, 9 O-linemen, 4 halfbacks, 4 TE/H-back/FB). And 5 wide receivers probably means 25. We could also cut down on perhaps an extra OL or TE/etc. to get to 25, and then keep 6 wide receivers. I don’t see the offense being dropped further to 24.

That means either 25 or 24 defensive players on the roster. Depending on the draft, we will carry 8 or 9 D-linemen. 10 DL is unlikely, given the depth needed for the rest of the defense. That leaves 15-17 spots left for LB and DB. Depending on the draft, we will go with either 9 or 10 DB, meaning we will go with 5-7 LB (probably 6 or 7, because keeping 9 DL, 10 DB, and just 5 LB is unlikely). One wrinkle is whether we are considering Taylor Mays as a DB or LB. He is listed as a safety, but was almost exclusively a nickel/cover LB last year and was surprisingly effective. I would personally categorize him as a LB first, while providing depth at safety. For example, if we are going with 10 true DB, we might go with 6 cornerbacks and just 4 true safeties, because Mays could be a fifth safety if needed.

Here are my personal predictions for what will happen, not that I necessarily agree-

If we keep 5 WR: Green, Jones, Sanu, Tate, Sanzenbacher

If we keep 6 WR: Green, Jones, Sanu, Tate, Sanzenbacher, Whalen (Hamilton has upside and is rising, but Whalen is still the incumbent for now in the eyes of the coaches)

If we keep 6 LB: Burfict, Maualuga, Rey, Lamur, Mays, DiManche

And thus possibly 10 DB: Newman, Jones, Hall, Kirkpatrick, Nelson, Iloka, Williams, Manning, 2 draft picks (or, 1 draft pick plus either Stanford or Lewis-Harris)

If we keep 7 LB: Burfict, Maualuga, Rey, Lamur, Mays, DiManche, Porter (DiManche played in all 17 games last year and received 3 coaches’ game balls for special teams play and also played some SAM, Porter/Montgomery/Moch have nothing at all to show for their supposed potential and relatively high draft status, Schaffer is "just a guy")

And thus possibly 9 DB: Newman, Jones, Hall, Kirkpatrick, Nelson, Iloka, Williams, Manning, draft pick

I like keeping just 5 wide receivers to allow an extra roster spot at a more necessary position group. I also like keeping just 6 linebackers (including Mays) and not 7 because of our frequent use of the nickel defense in an increasingly pass-happy league, meaning five defensive backs and just two linebackers on the field at a time.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.

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