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Margus Hunt may miss rest of OTAs, per report; roster spot in jeopardy

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This is not a good way for Margus Hunt to begin the year.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Margus Hunt still has yet to make his mark in the NFL, but he's already off to a rough start this year.

Hunt, who missed four games last year while dealing with an ankle injury, now has suffered an undisclosed injury that's got him on the sidelines for OTAs. Not only may that injury keep him out of the rest of the spring, but possibly the start of training camp, according to Geoff Hobson.

Not on the field was backup defensive end Margus Hunt and it’s believed he has suffered some kind of injury that could take him out of all of the spring drills. In his absence, second-year player Will Clarke took a bunch of snaps at right end. Hunt’s status for training camp is unclear…

Hunt has yet to find a niche among the Bengals defense, despite the unit having one of their worst pass rushes in recent memory last year. Hunt only played 187 snaps and generated eight QB pressures. This, after getting nine hurries in 165 snaps as a rookie in 10 games.

If Hunt can't show some improvement during training camp, there may be no room for him on the 53-man roster. Michael Johnson is back to play alongside Carlos Dunlap and Wallace Gilberry who will occupy most of the DE snaps.

Second-year lineman Will Clarke is expected to get more runs this year after playing  64 snaps as a rookie. As Hobson noted, Clarke is benefiting the most from Hunt's absence in OTAs. This is his chance to pass Hunt on the depth chart, and it sounds like he's making the most of that opportunity.

The one saving grace of this injury is it could lead to a PUP stint for Hunt, which would keep him on the team but not the 53-man roster for the first two months. That way, Cincinnati could bring him along and decide what to do with him midway through the year.

At this point, Hunt certainly isn't a lock for the final roster if he does practice in training camp and compete with Clarke for the fourth DE spot. There's no certainty the Bengals will keep five DEs, especially with the versatile Marcus Hardison likely getting some runs there as a rookie.

All of this could amount to another pass-rushing blunder by Cincinnati in the same light as Dontay Moch just four years ago.