Projecting the Bengals' starting lineup in 2014

John Grieshop

Who will open the 2014 season in the Bengals starting lineup?

ESPN Bengals Beat Writer Coley Harvey took a stab at projecting the Bengals' opening day lineup, and his list was quite interesting.

He believes Mike Pollak will convert from guard to starting center, Margus Hunt will replace Michael Johnson and both Vincent Rey and Rey Maualuga will be starting:

C Mike Pollak -- Bengals have several options at center. He could win the starting job.

RDE Margus Hunt -- Three players will rotate at this position, but Hunt could win starting job in training camp.

SLB Vincent Rey -- Several could audition to play "Sam" linebacker, including Rey.

MLB Rey Maualuga -- After a solid enough 2013 season at middle linebacker, he should be back there.

Vincent does deserve to be a starter, but the same cannot be said for Maualuga. Chances are, one of them will be manning the middle while Emmanuel Lamur returns from injury to man the SAM spot.

Looking at the roster as it is and barring an injury to a starter, it looks as though it's going to be difficult for any free agency acquisition or draft pick to crack the starting lineup on opening day.

The one weak spot where a rookie could potentially start is at DE if Hunt doesn't make significant improvements this offseason, but he displayed enough promise to make the Bengals believe he'll be able to.

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