Organized Team Activities are beginning for all 32 NFL teams. The Cincinnati Bengals will take to the field Tuesday, giving us an idea of the depth chart would look like if a game was being played today.
Neil Hornsby of Pro Football Focus projected the Bengals depth chart for this coming season, and here's a look at how he thinks the defense will look:
The only part I disagree with Hornsby is placing Vontaze Burfict in the 'high 'quality' category, and not with Geno Atkins in the 'elite' classification.
Burfict has done enough in his two years in the NFL to earn the right to be called 'elite'.
They project one of the bigger roster battles to be at strongside linebacker, where Vincent Rey may finally be able to earn a starting role.
Although I’d like to see Vincent Rey given a chance to make the middle linebacker position his own I think the Bengals are too invested in Rey Maualuga (emotionally if not financially) to make so radical a change. However, they know what they have in Rey now so this position makes some sense. That said, Jayson DiManche will also be given a shot to compete but I think this is Rey’s to lose.
The only other new projected starter is Wallace Gilberry replacing the departed Michael Johnson. The one thing This chart made me realize is the situation at backup defensive end.
Will Clarke is viewed as a project, but if he can have a good training camp in preseason and passes Robert Geathers on the depth chart, that could lead to Geathers getting cut.
There's no sense in carrying five DEs if that fifth is an aging veteran coming off a torn ACL and probably can't contribute on special teams.