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Roster Prediction: Closing In With A Lock At Fullback

This continues a series of players we're locking in as a prediction for the 2011 Bengals roster (introduced here).

As much as we believe that Chris Pressley will make the 2011 roster, we're still not ready to lock him in just yet. The issue isn't so much about Pressley, who appears to be widening his gap for candidacy as the team's fullback. The issue for me, at least, is unpredictability. During the HBO's Hard Knocks, we were often left with the impression that the out-of-shape Jeremi Johnson, who spent much of his time during training camp conditioning, was a long shot while Pressley -- massively a fan favorite -- played as well as anyone at the position. Yet the Bengals choose Johnson, who left the NFL after the 2009 season; the same year Tampa Bay signed Pressley off the Bengals practice squad midway.

Then Cincinnati didn't bother to keep a fullback until Chris Pressley returned later during the season to post 82 snaps during the final four games with the Bengals. With Pressley taking the bulk of the team's snaps at fullback, Cedric Benson still averaged 3.3 yards/rush during those final four games, and that's largely inflated with 150 yards rushing in week 15 against the Cleveland Browns.

Yet all of the indicators tend to suggest that Pressley will be the team's fullback in 2011. Reviews of his training camp are better than his contemporaries, he started with the first team unit on Friday night and he has the most experience. Since there's still probably confusion on how we're maintaining our locks, let's put it in this perspective. We are absolutely predicting that Pressley makes this team based on personal conjecture. But we're still a little short of 100% certainty on declaring him a lock.

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